Crews work to demolish the house in Nescopeck, Pennsylvania, US, on Friday. AP
Tragedy can come in several forms. It can be in the shape of a bereavement due to natural causes, a road accident, an incident involving an airliner or death caused by war.
But few incidents can address the grief that a Pennsylvania fireman felt after he lost ten family members in a horrific house fire that he responded to.
Harold Baker III said that he was first to reach the scene of the blaze in Nescopeck in the wee hours of Friday. He did not know initially that the house engulfed by the inferno was where 13 of his family members lived.
A 911 call said that the neighbourâ€™s home was caught in a blaze and they desperately needed help. Baker was the first one to show up.
Young people visit the site of the house that was destroyed by a fatal fire in Nescopeck on Friday. AP
But then shock and grief hit him like a sledgehammer.Â He found out that ten of his relatives, including his 19-year-old son, had perished in the fire.
Like him, his son was also a firefighter.
The bodies have been found, Baker said. Three children between the ages of five and seven are among those killed. Three others managed to escape the blaze.
Baker, who has been a firefighter for nearly four decades, was inconsolable. He jumped to the rescue while tackling blazes in other peopleâ€™s homes, but could not save his own family. And that is his biggest regret.
â€œI couldnâ€™t get in there to save them. That is the biggest thing that has been on me,â€ he told a local news station which first broke the story on the tragedy.
Pennsylvania State Police has identified the victims as Dale Baker, 19, Star Baker, 2; David Daubert, 79; Brian Daubert, 4; Shannon Daubert, 45; Laura Daubert, 47; and Marian Slusser, 54.
Firefighters set up lights in front of a fatal house fire at 733 First Street in Nescopeck on Friday. AP
A relative of eight of the victims, Violet Kessler, said some of them had decided to stay over at the home after spending the day together on Thursday at a pool.
She too was still coming to terms with the devastating shock. The scale of the tragedy was too big for her to bear. â€œItâ€™s like a dream.â€
The community is providing full-on support to Baker and the remaining members of his family during this crisis, including food and donations, according to the Independent.
The daughter of Nescopeckâ€™s mayor, Robin Massina, has created a fund to defray funeral expenses and help the survivors.
The state police has launched a probe into the incident.