3 children die in Long Neck fire

LONG NECK — Three children, all under the age of 5, were found dead after a fire erupted in a home in Long Neck on Wednesday afternoon, Delaware State Police said.

While the home was on fire, one other child was safely removed from the residence by a parent, police said. That child, also under the age of 5, was transported to the Beebe Medical Center for a medical evaluation and was treated and released.

Donations for the families affected began coming in by Wednesday evening.

At 2:32 p.m. authorities responded to a report of a residence burning on Scarp Street in Pot-Nets Bayside, said state police spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz. As first responders arrived on the scene the rear part of the residence was engulfed in flames and was quickly extinguished by the responding fire departments.

When firefighters entered the home, police said, they encountered heavy smoke and discovered the three children deceased in the rear of the house.
The bodies of the children will be turned over to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science to determine cause of death, police said.
“With something this tragic we need to respect the family. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to this family, community, friends and family. Whatever they need, Delaware State Police, the fire marshals, fire departments, EMS first responders are all here for them so we can get through this together,” Sgt. Bratz told media and community members gathered at the scene Wednesday evening.

The two state legislators who represent the Long Neck area were in the Pot-Nets neighborhood for several hours, and each spoke with a solemn tone as they relayed the events Wednesday night.

Sen. Brian Pettyjohn said the Good Ole Boy Foundation already had pledged $15,000 to help cover funeral costs, and he expects members of the community will give generously and do what they can to help the families. He said the residence appeared to be a total loss.

Rep. Ruth Briggs King said, “The whole community is very upset when something like that happens.”

She said she heard the families impacted had found places to stay.

The incident left many people shaken up, especially first responders, Sen. Pettyjohn said.
“It’s one thing to deal with an adult, but when it’s children, it’s another thing, especially for those with kids,” he said.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze. It remains under joint investigation by the state fire marshal and state police.

The Indian River Volunteer Fire Co., the Lewes Fire Department and the Millsboro Fire Co. responded to the fire.

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