The local administration didn’t inspect the home daycare in Pennsylvania where five children died in a fire early Sunday for smoke detectors. It clearly shows the loopholes in regulations where a blaze killed four siblings and a child of the owner.
The Harris Family Daycare in Erie apparently didn’t have adequate smoke detectors. State regulations show that there should be one on each floor of the two-story home. But investigators only located one: in the attic.
Furthermore, the state code of Pennsylvania requires childcare facilities run out of a home to have “a smoke detector on each floor and in the basement.”
However, Harris Family Daycare was not registered with the city government due to a “loophole” in regulations which meant that any child care facility founded before 2004 only had to register with the state.
As a result, the fire broke out around 1:15 a.m in the first-floor living room. At that time, eight people were on the second floor of the house.
The fire chief Santone said that inspectors are focusing on an extension cord as the cause of the blaze.
Meanwhile, two teenagers escaped the fire when they were alerted by the house’s one smoke detector, which was in the attic, Santone said. They got themselves out by jumping from a second-floor window onto a porch of the home. By the time the detector went off, the house was already filled with smoke, Santone said.
State Sen. Dan Laughlin said that he has drawn up legislation to have smoke detector checks added to DHS inspections of daycare facilities.
Did regular inspection take place?
The daycare had an active “certificate of compliance,” state records show. Consequently, the latest inspection of the home happened in December. It cited various things that needed correction. This includes protective covers on electrical outlets and the removal of ashes and cigarette butts. There was no mention of any concerns with fire safety.
The ages of the victims were between the nine months and eight years. Three of the four siblings were children of a firefighter from nearby Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department.