JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say an early morning fire in a western Pennsylvania home claimed the life of a child and sent another child and two adults to hospitals.
Johnstown fire crews arrived at the blaze in the Moxham section of the city shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday and found flames venting from the rear of the home’s roof, the city’s fire chief told The (Johnstown) Tribune-Democrat. The Cambria County coroner said one person escaped before firefighters arrived but three people, an adult, and two children, were still trapped inside.
Firefighters found the two children on the second floor and got them outside, but one didn’t survive. The second child was taken to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, with what Chief Bob Statler said were significant burns. Two adults were also taken to a hospital with smoke inhalation and burns.
Statler said crews were able to contain the flames to the second floor and attic and quickly extinguished them once the occupants were evacuated, but he said emergency responders never want to lose anyone to a fire — let alone a child.
“This is a very difficult time for these first responders in dealing with the death of a child,” he said. A Tribune-Democrat photographer reported seeing one firefighter on his knees with his head bowed at the scene.
Across the street, Tiffany Herbert said she was praying for the family.
“It’s enough to lose your home– but to lose a child, too,” Herbert, 20, said. “They’ve been through so much. I’m praying that the rest of them pull through.”
A state police fire marshal is working to determine the origin and cause of the fire.