Five children die in PA daycare fire, including four siblings; fire chief

“...We could have prevented a tragedy if there were smoke detectors in the building,” fire chief says

Five children die in PA daycare fire, including four siblings

ERIE, Penn. (WOIO) - A Pennsylvania family’s world has been turned upside down after four siblings were killed in a fire at their day care on Sunday.

Investigators say eight people were inside the home day care when the fire ripped through it. The day care owner and two teens made it out, but the five children -- between 9 months-old and 8 years old -- did not. Four of them were Shevonta Overton’s kids.

“Not feeling their touch, hearing their voice. I can't even go in my house. I can't see their things,” said Overton. She was at work when she got the gut-wrenching call from the father of three of her children, Luther Jones.

“No one wants to lose three children in one night, actually no one wants to bury their children at all," he said. Jones was also working when the fire broke out, responding to another call. He’s a volunteer firefighter. He had no idea his two daughters and son were inside the burning home.

The day care owner’s stepdaughter, Lataedra Tate, said it was all unimaginable.

“For her to be at work, then her babies are gone, and then Luther. That’s what you do. You fight fires and you lose your babies to a fire," Tate said.

Erie police and fire investigators say an electrical problem may be to blame.

“There were a lot of extension cords with many things plugged into them underneath the couch, a lot of different items were plugged into it,” said Chief Guy Santone.

He also says the home lacked smoke detectors.

“Our investigation found no smoke detectors other than one in the attic which did absolutely no good. We could have prevented a tragedy if there were smoke detectors in the building,” said Santone.

Earlier this year, a state inspection noted ashes and cigarette or cigar butts, banned in childhood spaces. The day care reportedly fixed the issue, and its license was renewed.

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