Daycare, where 5 children were killed in a fire, was not screened for smoke detectors
The Harris family daycare center in Erie, where four siblings and one child of the owner were killed in a fire, apparently did not have enough smoke detectors, said Erie fire chief Guy Santone. Investigators have found only one in the house, he said; It was in the attic. Government regulations state that there should have been one on each floor of the two-story house.
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services conducted the annual security inspections at the facility. Fire safety controls at the DHS include exits, space heaters, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves, and fire fighting exercises, DHS spokeswoman Erin James said in an email to CNN compliance with fire safety regulations, including the presence and functionality of smoke detectors. "[Thisisanunthinkabletragedyandwearecommittedtoworkingwithothergovernmentagenciesandlocalpartnerstoensurethatchildcarefacilitiesareproperlymonitoredforsmokedetectorsinthefuture"saidJames"WearedeterminedtodothisGapsandalloptionsincludingamendingtheexistingDHSregulationswillbeconsideredinthenearfuture"oneachfloorandinthebasement"
"If the Department of Human Services detects a possible fire safety breach, calls There are additional fire safety inspections by the competent authority, "James said in accordance with the state codes on the current process.
Santone said the city is testing for smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. However, Harris Family Daycare was not registered with the city government because a childcare facility established before 2004 was only required to be registered with the state due to a "regulation gap".
"If they (civil servants) do their inspections, they do not inspect for smoke detectors, they do not inspect for fire extinguishers, they inspect things like cleanliness and make sure there's nothing lying around that can strangle a child, things like that," said Santone of the DHS at a press conference on Tuesday. "That has to stop."
Eight people were on the second floor of the house when a fire broke out at 1
:15 in the living room on the first floor, Santone said.
The fire chief said the inspectors are focusing on an extension cord as the cause of the fire.
Two teenagers who escaped the fire were hit by a house smoke detector on the Attic alarmed. Said Santone. They dismounted by jumping from a second-story window onto a porch of the house. When the detector went off, the house was already filled with smoke, Santone said.
Dan Laughlin, US state senator, said he has worked out laws to check DHS inspections of day care centers for smoke detectors.
"Unfortunately, it can happen again, because there are thousands of worries throughout Pennsylvania that are currently unprotected, at least as far as we know," said Laughlin at the press conference.
The day care center had an active "certificate of conformity", as government records show. The last inspection of the house in December cited a number of things that needed to be corrected, including protective covers on sockets and removing ash and cigarette butts. The inspection did not raise any concerns about fire safety.
The victims were between 9 months and 8 years old. Three of the four siblings were children of a firefighter from Lawrence Park's volunteer fire department.
Jones, Darran Simon, Holly Yan, Jason Carroll, and Mirna Alsharif of CNN contributed to the report.