Fatal Harris Family Daycare fire ruled accidental

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Philadelphia Field Division, the Allegheny County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Erie Police and Fire Departments announced today that the fatal Daycare fire that occurred on August 11, 2019 at the Harris Family Daycare has been ruled accidental.

On August 11, 2019 at approximately 1:11 a.m., firefighters from the Erie Fire Department responded to a report of a structure fire at 1248 West 11th Street with people trapped inside.

Upon their arrival, fire crews encountered a fully involved structure fire.  Fire crews subsequently made entry into the structure and retrieved five victims; however all five victims, all under the age of 10 years old, had perished as a result of the fire.

The fire investigation was a collaborative effort and worked in coordination with the ATF Pittsburgh Field Office, Allegheny County Fire Marshal’s Office, Erie Police and Fire Departments. This investigation was a team effort by the aforementioned agencies who worked tirelessly to come to a determination of the cause of this fire. This tragic loss of life was felt by the investigative team, the first responders and the community as a whole.

The investigative team collectively concluded in the origin and cause determination report, “Based upon data collected during this investigation and the subsequent analysis of that data, it is the combined opinion of the fire scene investigation team that the fire was caused by an electrical failure associated with a routinely-used extension cord.” The fire’s origin was determined to have started in the living room.  Additionally, stated in the report, “After a complete analysis of all the data collected, the fire was determined to be accidental.”