Fatal fire at child care centre

Our thoughts are with the families

The fatal fire which occurred in the early hours of yesterday was in a home that also ran as a day care center.

Four young children were allegedly staying overnight at the day care center with the adult resident and her own children also in the home at the time.

The fire is believed to have started in the front living area on the first floor of the home.

The local Pennsylvanian fire brigade were alerted to the fire at approximately 1am and extinguished the flames which had taken over the home.

Chief Guy Santone of the Erie Fire Department said the female owner of the residence was taken to hospital.

The five victims ranged in ages from eight-months to seven years.

According to the Erie Time-News Valerie Lockett-Slupski told the paper she was a grandmother to four of the deceased.

She continued explaining that the children were spending the night at the day care because their parents were working overnight. The two boys and two girls had attended the daycare for almost a year the grandmother stated.

“So we are all at a loss, trying to figure out how this happened,” she said.

Statements from neighbours allegedly revealed two other children aged 12 and 17 escaped the fire by climbing out of the first floor roof and jumping to the ground.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website Harris Family Day Care provides pickup service to and from the child’s home and operates 24 hours a day, the center also has a recent compliance certificate.

The cause of the blaze is currently being investigated but according to the state Department of Human Services Office of Child Development and Early Learning an inspection on January 3 noted “protective receptacle covers shall be placed in electrical outlets accessible to children 5 years of age or younger” and said the provider’s planned correction was to turn “the outlets so they were closed” when not in use.

The inspection continued its list of defects with the presence of  “ashes and cigarette or cigar butts” banned in child care space, play space or food preparation area, and said the provider had promised to “make sure it will be cleaned up and remain that way.”

The above issues were marked on the report on a later date as being corrected.

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