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Community devasted by loss of children in Herkimer fire

As fire crews battled the flames inside of a home on East Steele Street in Herkimer Friday, neighbors watched in horror.

Posted: Jan. 11, 2019 6:51 PM
Updated: Jan. 11, 2019 10:32 PM

Herkimer, N.Y. - As fire crews battled the flames inside of a home on East Steele Street in Herkimer Friday, neighbors watched in horror. Three children ages 1, 6, and 7 lost their lives in the fire.

Deborah Fitch shares what she saw on the cold Friday morning.

"So, I got dressed and I'm seeing flames and I'm seeing smoke, and I went behind to the property that I own over here and the house was just in flames." said Fitch

By the time she got outside, many neighbors were already outside trying to process what was happening. Fitch did her best to comfort the neighbors and some of the family members.

It wasn’t until she saw the fire embers from the home reaching the house next door did, she turn her attention elsewhere. Her sister-in-law lived next door.

“So, I asked the officer are those flames going to get to that house? The officer said no but if you want to go check on her go ahead because she's handicap, so I went and checked on her, “said Fitch.

Neighbor Ken Flanigan saw fire crews racing down Route 5 that morning. Once he heard the fire was on East Steele Street, he went to investigate what was going on.

"I came down East Steele Street. When I got close to the scene, I've seen fire coming from the back of the building and coming out of the top of the roof. It’s very sad, there's no words to describe what the parents are going through." said Flanigan

Deborah, who is grandmother, couldn’t help but feel for the family. She says that it’s a morning that she will never forget.

"I have grandchildren and I usually go up and get them in the morning, but I couldn’t today because I was trying to help everybody over here. And comfort a couple of ladies because they were their grandchildren in there," Said Fitch.

The investigation to the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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