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story.lead_photo.caption Erie Bureau of Fire Inspector Mark Polanski helps investigate a fatal fire on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, in Erie, Pa. Authorities say the early-morning fire in northwestern Pennsylvania claimed the lives of multiple children and sent another person to the hospital.

Three of the five children who died in a fire at a Pennsylvania day care center early Sunday were offspring of a local volunteer firefighter who happened to be called to a blaze just a few blocks away.

Luther Jones did not know his kids were at the Erie house when he responded to a call with the Lawrence Park Fire Department.

"Unthinkable," Chief Joe Crotty of the Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department told NBC. "It's really beyond comprehension."

The residential house in Erie had been turned into a day care center where children could stay overnight while their parents worked.

The age of the young victims ranged from 8 months to 7 years, according to Erie Fire Chief Guy Santone. Neighbor Valerie Lockett-Slupski told the Erie Times-News that she was the grandmother of four of the kids who had died. They had been at the day care center because their parents were working overnight.

"So we are all at a loss, trying to figure out how this happened," she told the newspaper.

The homeowner's child was also killed in the fire, and the mother was among the injured.

"The lady that lived there ran through the fire to get outside," Santone told the Times-News. "She had burned her lungs and probably didn't realize that. And she drove herself to the hospital, and on the way to the hospital, she crashed her car."

Nine people were injured, treated or rescued, according to the Times-News. An investigation is ongoing, but Santone said only one smoke detector was found in the home.

"If there were the proper amount of smoke detectors in this structure, then most, if not all, would have survived," Santone said, according to CNN.

Flames could be seen coming out of every first-floor window when firefighters arrived, according to the Times-News.

The Lawrence Park Fire Department is setting up a bank account to raise money for funeral costs for Jones' family, the news website reported.

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