Five children killed after blaze at day care centre in Pennsylvania

An early morning fire in Pennsylvania at a residential building housing a day care centre killed five children and sent the owner to the hospital, authorities said.

The fire was reported in Erie, a north-west lake town, at about 1.15am on Sunday, Guy Santone of the Erie Fire Department said.

The victims ranged in ages from 8 months to 7 years, he added.

Valerie Lockett-Slupski, standing across the street from the fire-damaged house, said she was the grandmother of four of the children, and that they were staying at the day care because their parents were working overnight, the Erie Times-News reported.

She said the family had two boys and two girls and had used the day care for almost a year.

“So we are all at a loss, trying to figure out how this happened,” Ms Lockett-Slupski told the newspaper.

The owner of the day care was flown to the the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre for treatment, Mr Santone said.

He said a neighbour was also injured.

Chief fire inspector John Widomski told the newspaper that the fire appeared to have started in the living room area on the first floor.

The department’s two fire inspectors and three Erie police detectives trained in fire investigations are working to determine the cause of the blaze.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Greg Wohlford / Erie Times News / AP.