August 23rd, 2019

Fire chief: There was a lack of smoke detectors at day care

By The Associated Press on August 13, 2019.

Erie Bureau of Fire Inspector Mark Polanski helps investigate a fatal fire at 1248 West 11th St. in Erie, Pa, on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019. Authorities say an early morning fire in northwestern Pennsylvania claimed the lives of multiple children and sent another person to the hospital. (Greg Wohlford/Erie Times-News via AP)

ERIE, Pa. – There weren’t enough working smoke detectors at a Pennsylvania home day care centre where a fire killed five children, the fire chief said Tuesday.

State officials who inspect home day care centres do not check for smoke detectors, Fire Chief Guy Santone told a news conference Tuesday. But city authorities and state legislators are working on legislation that would make home day care centres register with the city, so it can deploy inspectors.

A message seeking comment was left with the Department of Human Services.

Santone said there was one detector in the attic of the day care centre in the lakeside city of Erie.

Fire officials suspect the blaze that broke out Sunday morning at Harris Family Daycare was accidental, according to Santone. They are investigating whether it was an electrical fire.

An adult and two adolescent boys were able to escape the fire. Five children ranging in age from 8 months to 7 years died.

Officials earlier said that three of the five children kids were the children of a volunteer firefighter who was responding to another call.

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