ATF: Faulty extension cord caused fatal Erie fire | TribLIVE.com
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ATF: Faulty extension cord caused fatal Erie fire

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Erie Times/AP
Erie Bureau of Fire Inspector Mark Polanski helps investigate a fatal fire Aug. 11 in Erie.

An electrical failure in an extension cord set off a fire in a west Erie home and day care facility that caused the deaths of five young children on the early morning Aug. 11, authorities who investigated the fire announced on Thursday.

The fire at 1248 W. 11th St., which was a single-family residence that also housed the Harris Family Daycare, was determined to be accidental, according to information in a news release issued by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“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,” according to the release.

The fire originated in the first-floor living room, investigators reported.

The fire was reported at the home and daycare on Aug. 11 at 1:12 a.m. Killed in the fire were 2-year-old Dalvin Pacley and siblings La’Myhia Jones, 8; Luther Jones Jr., 6; Ava Jones, 4; and Jaydan Augustyniak, 9 months, all of whom were staying at the day care.

Homeowner Elaine Harris, who ran the day care, was injured in the fire and underwent treatment at a Pittsburgh hospital. Investigators said two older boys who were also in the house and escaped the fire by climbing out a second-floor window and onto a roof suffered minor injuries, according to investigators.

The ruling was made following weeks of investigation by Erie Bureau of Fire inspectors, Erie Bureau of Police detectives and the ATF. Investigators visited the property several times and served search warrants to collect items including electrical cords from the living room area where the fire originated. Electrical items were taken to an ATF laboratory in Maryland for examination.

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