10 dead in fast-moving Pennsylvania blaze, officials say

A fire described as “violent” and “powerful” swept through a home in northeastern Pennsylvania early Friday morning, killing 10 people, a neighbor and authorities said.

Among those killed in the Nescopeck Fire, about 45 miles southwest of Scranton, were three children, ages 5, 6 and 7, Pennsylvania State Police said. The other seven victims were between 19 and 79 years old, officials said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. State police said three people were able to escape the fire to safety.

Neighbor Michael Swank said he woke up around 2.30am and heard banging noises, which he first thought were gunshots. He looked outside and saw the porch of a house across the street engulfed in flames. He said the noises he heard sounded like paint cans or propane canisters igniting and exploding.

“I knew the firefighters wouldn’t arrive in time” to rescue the occupants of the house, Mr Swank said. He did not hear or see any activity that indicated anyone was trying to escape the fire, he said.

“Boy, it was just a horrible fire” that spread quickly from the porch to the upper floors, he said. “It was hell. God bless those kids that were there. They had no prayer.


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