Harold Baker joined other firefighters at 2:30 a.m. when they got a call to a two-story home on fire in Nescopeck, Pennsylvania. Baker said that when he arrived, the flames had already swallowed the entire house, and he couldn’t get in.
“I couldn’t get in there to save them. That is the biggest thing that has been on me. I couldn’t get in there to save them,” Baker told ABC affiliate WNEP.
Pennsylvania state troopers confirmed that 10 of Baker’s family members, including three of his grandchildren between the ages of 5 and 7, had perished in the fire, and at least three of those in the house escaped. Baker also said that there were 13 dogs living in the home.
“I also lost my son, my daughter, grandson, two other grandkids in there, my father-in-law, my brother-in-law, and my sister-in-law. All lost,” Baker lamented.
“The kids that were there and my two kids were just visiting their aunt and uncle,” the firefighter added. “Those were the ones who own the house. They were there visiting and going into the pool and all that.”
Police later identified the adult victims as Dale Baker, 19; Star Baker, 22; David Daubert Sr., 79; Brian Daubert, 42; Shannon Daubert, 45; Laura Daubert, 47; and Marian Slusser, 54, CNN reported. The other three victims were two boys, ages 5 and 6, and a 7-year-old girl.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. “We are utilizing multiple department assets to ensure a thorough and complete investigation into this fatal fire,” State Police Lt. Derek Felsman said.
While authorities have not launched a criminal investigation into the origin of the blaze, Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce told CNN, “Should the fire marshals determine the cause to be intentional and incendiary, we would begin a criminal investigation for arson.”
WNEP reported that the Red Cross was providing support and counseling to the victims’ family. A GoFundMe page was also set up by the daughter of the town’s mayor to support those who lost their loved ones and possessions.