A fire at a day care center in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania on Sunday killed at least five children, including four siblings, officials said.

In this photo released by the Erie Fire department, firefighters work to put out a house fire in Erie, Pennsylvania early in the morning on August 11, 2019. [Photo: Erie Fire Department/AFP via VCG]

In this photo released by the Erie Fire department, firefighters work to put out a house fire in Erie, Pennsylvania early in the morning on August 11, 2019. [Photo: Erie Fire Department/AFP via VCG]

The fire was reported early Sunday at a day care center in Erie, a lakeside town in northern Pennsylvania. According to Chief Guy Santone of the Erie Fire Department, multiple people were trapped inside the three-storey single family house, which abruptly caught fire, a witness said.

Santone said the victims were aged from eight months to seven years.

Seven people, including young children, were rescued, and the owner of the day care center, an adult female, was flown to a nearby hospital for treatment, he added.

Eire Chief Fire Inspector John Widomski said that the fire appeared to have started in the living room area on the first floor.

Two fire inspectors and three Erie police detectives trained in fire investigations are working to determine the cause of the blaze, according to local media.

Santone said only one smoke detector was found in the house. “If there were the proper amount of smoke detectors in this structure, then most, if not all, would have survived,” he added.

The day care center was certified by local authorities until March 2020, The Erie Times-News reported.

Erie has a population of about 100,000 and is the fourth largest city in the state.

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