“We offer our deepest sympathies to all affected by this horrible tragedy”
Eerie Fire Department spokesman
The tragic victims of the Pennsylvania fire were aged between eight months to seven years old, Erie firefighters confirmed.
Neighbours alerted emergency services at about 1.15am local time (6.15am GMT) on Sunday.
They later reported seeing two children, aged 12 and 17, jumping off the building’s roof in order to escape.
One of the neighbours had tried to enter the burning daycare centre but was pushed back due to the thick smoke.
Firefighters were able to pull everyone out from the burning home, and paramedics were seen attempting to revive children who were put onto stretchers.
It is understood the fire started in the living room on the ground floor before it quickly spread.
But, an Erie Fire Department spokesman later confirmed that five children had tragically died in the blaze.
The fire department said in a Facebook post: “We offer our deepest sympathies to all affected by this horrible tragedy and we keep the survivors in our thoughts and prayers.”
It said earlier: “A very tough night for the 2nd Platoon as they are called to the 1200 block of West 11th for a structure fire with multiple occupants trapped.
“All told Erie Firefighters rescued seven people, many being young children.
“Unfortunately, many of the patients were critical and we are still getting details on condition. We will have more details as they come available.”
Chief Guy Santone said they are investigating whether the blaze was started deliberately, but added: “It’s too early to draw that conclusion.”