ERIE – Erie’s Fire Chief says the city was not aware of the existence of a daycare where five children died in a blaze over the weekend.
Chief Guy Santone says there are two reasons why the city did not know of the daycare’s existence.
“Any day cares that were permitted prior to 2004 were permitted through the state,” said Santone. “Anything after that, they have to be permitted through the city. Now there’s two loopholes. One is when the state permits it before 2004, they don’t have to notify the local authorities. So, their inspection company is DHS, Department of Human Services. The other loophole is when they inspect, they basically inspect just for cleanliness. They don’t inspect for smoke detectors or fire extinguishers, anything of that nature.”
Fire officials say the children who died ranged in ages from 8 months to eight-years old. Four of them were siblings.
The fire broke out just after 1 a.m. Sunday morning. Investigators say the daycare had no smoke detectors, except for one in the attic.
They say that if there had been the proper number of detectors, most, if not all of the victims would have survived.