DELAWARE TWP., Pa. (WKBN) – Multiple people are dead after a farmhouse fire in Mercer County.
Sources told WKBN that four bodies were recovered and that crews were working to locate a fifth body. According to the Mercer County Coroner John Libonati, names are expected to be released Monday and dental records of the victims are also expected to be examined.
Friday evening, investigators dug through the remnants of the farmhouse on District Road near Redfoot Road in Delaware Township, north of Mercer.
“It’s been a very long, hard day. As you can imagine, any fire with victims involved with a human loss is hard to see, hard to deal with,” said Corporal Timothy Repp, Pennsylvania State Police.
A viewer provided WKBN with videos showing the farmhouse on fire.
First responders from multiple agencies were called to the area just after midnight Friday morning.
One man from the area who asked to not be shown on camera saw the farmhouse in flames.
“As we was getting there when we crossed over Route 19 off of District Road, you could see the sky was orange. The fire was going pretty good,” the man said.
The Mercer County man said he was waiting for his daughter to get home from work when he heard sirens. They decided to follow first responders.
“The flames were still going, but the whole second floor in the roof of that was all down on the first floor,” he said.
Sources say the fire is not believed to be suspicious. Mercer County’s coroner, John Libonati, says the cause of the fire and the manner of deaths are pending further forensic testing.
As for how long this may take…
“We’re working until we can confirm everything that we believe we can confirm,” Corporal Repp said.
Police say a tragic incident like this could truly shake up the community.
“This is a small community, so people were known. You know, people know these people. These aren’t just names. It affects all of us deeply. I mean, these are people in the community. So we all have to try to focus on the task at hand, do the best we can for the people and the families involved,” Corporal Repp said.
As for the man who saw the farmhouse up in flames…
“Now I’m kinda like bothered that I went and followed it, you know, to go see it. It’s a shame,” he said.
Gerry Ricciutti and Chelsea Simeon contributed to this report.