By JOHN ANDERSON
Five children died in a house fire in Genesee, Pa., this morning, including three siblings, a family friend and teenage student at Scio Central School and a cousin, also a teenage student who attends Wellsville High School.
There is no school this week with spring break. The fire took place around 3:30 a.m. on Slingerland Road in Genesee, Pa., and the parents, Michele and Charlie Erway, were taken to Jones Memorial Hospital and later Strong Memorial Hospital for injuries.
Jeff Luckey, the Allegany County Fire Coordinator and Emergency Manager for Allegany County, said a critical incident stress debriefing will take place at the Genesee, Pa, fire hall tonight to go over the facts and the incident for the Genesee and their fire marshal’s.
After that, a crisis team will be available for firefighters.
At the Allegany County Office for Emergency Services, the crisis team will be available if requested to assist the firefighters who have been at the scene of the fatal fire, which started after 3 a.m. today.
“I talked to one chief at the scene and I’ve been in this situation before,” said Luckey. “It’s really tough and when it involves kids, it’s even worse.”
Luckey said first responders need to talk about what they saw and not keep it inside.
“First of all, talk to your friends, your wife, anyone who is a confidant, you can’t keep your emotions bottle up,” he said. “Usually it’s 24 to 48 hours before you see a crisis team, but we are offering it now for those in Allegany County and those in Pennsylanvia. There will be a debriefing tonight. They will get all the facts together and make sure people follow up with a crisis team.”
In addition to Genesee, Pa., departments from Wellsville, Willing, Independence, Whitesville, Andover and others were at the scene with ambulances. Allentown stood by for Willing.
“The 911 cell phone call hit our tower in Allegany County,” Luckey said. “They contacted right away Tioga County and worked well together.”