Tragic Pa. farmhouse fire kills 7 children

 Resize text         Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

BLAIN, Pa. -- A fire at a farmhouse killed seven children while their mother was in a barn milking cows and their father was taking a nap in a milk delivery truck, a state trooper said Wednesday, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

A 3-year-old girl survived Tuesday night's blaze. Those who perished ranged in age from 7 months to 11 years.

The children's father had left the two-story home, on a working farm in dairy country in Perry County, to get his truck around 10 p.m. Tuesday, Trooper Tom Pinkerton said. Two children, ages 2 and 3, were watching television at the time.

The father drove a short distance away to pick up milk and then parked the truck about a mile from home. Then, Pinkerton said, he nodded off.

Soon after, the 3-year-old smelled smoke in the home and ran to the barn to alert the mother, Pinkerton said. The mother told a neighbor to call 911, ran with the child to the father's truck and banged on its windows, screaming that their home was on fire, he said.

By the time the father returned to the home near Blain, about 130 miles east of Pittsburgh, it was fully engulfed by flames, Pinkerton said. Firefighters had arrived and were battling the blaze at the charred home, whose windows were blown out.

The Perry County coroner ruled the children died of smoke inhalation, Trooper Pinkerton said.

A neighbor, Deana Doran, said her dog's barking woke her up around 11 p.m. and she thought she heard someone calling, "Hello! Hello!"

She told The Associated Press she saw the first-floor rear of the home burning and dialed 911. Once she got outside she saw the flames spreading to the rest of the home.

Ms. Doran said her 10-year-old son is friends with the 11-year-old girl who lives at the home.

"He played with her every day," Ms. Doran said, visibly distraught. "I don't know how I'm going to handle this."

No cause or origin of the fire had been determined by early Wednesday morning. Fire marshals were investigating.

A fire truck and an ambulance remained at the scene while firefighters sifted through debris on the ground floor of the farmhouse, which is surrounded by barns and silos.

The house is one of a cluster of homes near an intersection of Blain, a rural stretch of farm land about 20 miles north of Harrisburg.

Authorities closed part of a highway near the farm because of the fire and the investigation. The highway, Route 274, was shut in both directions, and traffic was rerouted.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Comments (8) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

March, 09, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Sad, Sad, will keep the family in our prayers here in Wisconsin.

March, 09, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Will keep the family in our prayers here in Wisconsin.

Windsor, PA  |  March, 09, 2011 at 12:06 PM

How tragic. I can't imagine the pain & grief this husband & wife will live with the rest of their lives. Just trying to raise their kids in a wholesome atmosphere & make a living to survive & this happens. Iknow I shoudn't but I just wonder why God let this happen. We are dairy farmers also.

Maine  |  March, 09, 2011 at 01:09 PM

I will pray for this family at this time in their life, may God be with you.

Last Generation Dairy Farmer    
Pennsylvania  |  March, 09, 2011 at 05:28 PM

Only another farmer could understand the risks we take everyday to put food on the table for America. I many times left my children watching TV so that I could do barn chores. Many farmers have to take their children on tractors while working in the fields. My heart breaks for this family and I will keep them in my prayers. That could have been any one of us.

markleton PA  |  March, 11, 2011 at 02:52 PM

I hope that they will eventually find peace. I cannot help but think that if milk prices were better that they would not have to work so hard to provide for their family...

Wisconsin  |  March, 15, 2011 at 07:15 AM

Tragic, simply tragic. My hearts go out to the survivors, may they find peace.

March, 15, 2011 at 06:09 PM

Not judging just want to know why she didn't go to the house to see if she could save them first. Not run away from the house

5M Series

Five M Series Models: 5065M, 5075M, 5085M, 5100M, and 5115M (65-115 hp). If you spend a lot of time on ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides