NEW CASTLE (KDKA)- The state fire marshal is looking into the cause of a deadly early Tuesday morning fire in New Castle.
The fire started on the second floor around 2:15 a.m. at a home on Boyles Avenue.
“We found a point of origin which is a chair on the second floor of the bedroom. There’s nothing that points to a suspicious fire,” New Castle Fire Marshal Sgt. David Viggiano said.
When officers arrived on scene, there were reports of two children trapped in the home. An officer ran inside and tried to rescue an infant and a small child.
“We had an officer – local police officer – get to the scene first and tried to make entrance going up the steps. He was overcome by smoke inhalation. He passed out and when our guys got here, a minute later they found him on a stairwell and drug him down,” New Castle Fire Chief Mark Panella said.
KDKA’s Amy Wadas Reports:
Both children were pulled out of the home and taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead. The victims have been identified as 3-month-old Roman Whittier and a 5-year-old boy Isaiah Whittier.
It took some time for firefighters to find the bodies of the deceased.
“The one child was in the second floor bedroom, where the fire started and the second child was in the bedroom more towards the back of the house,” Viggiano said.
A 6-year-old boy suffered some minor burns and a 2-year-old boy was not hurt. The boys’ mother had burns to her hands and arms.
Their mom, Jocelyn Burcham, also suffered burns on her hands and arms. Their father, Cullen Whittier, grandmother and grandmother’s friend were all okay.
The officer who ran into the burning home was driven to the hospital by another officer. He was treated and released for smoke inhalation.
“I feel sick over it. Sad,” neighbor Lisa Beshero said. “I haven’t slept all night. I’ve been up all night. My husband has been up and I just went to work.”
Beshero is a neighbor and a substitute teacher to the surviving 6-year-old child that lives in the home.
Now, the community is in mourning.
“It’s tragic,” said Bill Heasley, another neighbor. “I mean it shook the whole neighborhood. The people I talked to this morning and last night, tt just shook them up. There were a lot of tears and prayers.”
Fire investigators said there weren’t any smoke detectors in the home. A neighbor tells KDKA the family had just bought the home and were in the process of fixing it up.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.