HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A child and a teenager are in “specialized treatment and care” at the hospital after being rescued from a burning house in the city Wednesday night, Harrisburg fire chief Brian Enterline said Thursday.
Fire crews broke out windows to get inside and rescue the two girls, trapped on the second floor as flames climbed from the basement.
Neither had a pulse when firefighters brought the girls out of the home.
The Harrisburg Bureau of Fire said Thursday afternoon the fire started in a basement bedroom of the house in the 2500 block of Barkley Lane.
It quickly spread, trapping the two inside.
I was asleep,” Daryl Jones said. “I heard this loud popping noise.”
Jones watched from his apartment just behind the row of townhouses. “From the yard level all the way up, all you could see was flames and smoke,” he said.
“Five, six minutes after that, flames were just jumping all up out of the windows and stuff. You could hear someone back there yelling, ‘Mom! Mom!'”
Firefighters got to the house around 11:15 p.m. Wednesday.
“The smoke in the building was just unbelievable, coming up from where it was coming from,” Enterline said at the scene. “Everything was burning.”
Three people — a woman, a 10-year-old boy, and a 19-year-old man — escaped on their own. The woman and the man were later treated for smoke inhalation.
Frantic neighbors told crews when they arrived two girls, a 7-year-old and a 16-year-old, were trapped on the second floor.
Firefighters’ actions were “flawless and courageous,” Enterline said in a news release.
They “put their lives at risk and blew through the front window,” he said.
Neither of the girls had a pulse when crews brought them out. CPR performed on the way to the hospital revived both of them, but they got to the hospital in critical condition.
They’re now getting specialized treatment there, Enterline said.
“We talk about train, train, train,” Enterline said of his firefighters. “And we train, train, train a hell of a lot in the city of Harrisburg. These guys did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
In daylight Thursday, broken windows and scattered glass were the only real indications of a problem from the front — that and the blackened door.
“You could see it was bad enough from back here,” Jones said, pointing out the charred exterior of the back of the house.
It’s not as rosy from his perspective, but still better than it might have been. “I thought it was going to be 10 times worse than what it was,” he said.
Firefighters aren’t sure how the fire started, but Enterline said they found a power strip near the point of ignition in the basement.
He added in the news release that there were working smoke detectors in the house.