By Al Novack, Nicole Brewer, and Mark Abrams
COATESVILLE. Pa (CBS) — A fast-moving fire in Coatesville (Chester County) has claimed the lives of a mother and one of her young children.
Fire officials say the blaze was reported shortly before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday and quickly escalated to three alarms, damaging at least three homes along the 500 block of East Chestnut Street.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, flames were intense and spreading, and officials had reports of people trapped.
“Units did arrive within a couple of minutes and identified up to eight people trapped on the rooftops, as well as people trapped inside the burning residence,” says Coatesville fire chief Jim Lentz. “Crews were able to safely rescue eight civilians from the rooftops, and unfortunately an adult and a child succumbed to the fire.”
According to officials, the victims were a 44-year-old mother of eight and her five-year-old son. They had been trapped in an upper floor bedroom of their three-story row home. Officials say they had emigrated to the US from Mexico.
In addition, one other adult and a seven-week-old baby were treated at a local hospital and released.
Firefighters from neighboring towns helped Coatesville firefighters gain the upper hand and bring the situation under control.
Investigators were trying to determine a cause.
According to Chief Lentz, there were no working smoke detectors inside the residence.
As many as 31 people, including eight children, were displaced by the fire.
The Red Cross set up a nearby shelter. Anyone wishing to help can donate by going to RedCrossPhilly.org or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-redcross.