Officials identify 2 children killed in Armstrong County house fire

EAST FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Two children died Thursday morning in a house fire in East Franklin Township, Armstrong County, officials said.

Pennsylvania State Police confirm that Emilee Hooten, 13, and Darren Hooten, 10, were killed after they were trapped on the second floor of the home.

A mother of five was forced to jump out of a second story window while holding her 4-year-old child, as her 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son were stuck upstairs, unable to get out in time.

"The grandfather tried to, he was yelling for the other children to get to the window and that's where we found them, by the window," said Timothy Morando, with Pennsylvania State Police in Kittanning.


State police fire marshals are still trying to pinpoint a cause.

"Grandfather was remodeling the electrical system so we're looking at that and some space heaters upstairs, multiple angles being investigated at this time," Morando said.

"The parents and the grandparent were alerted by one of the children there was a fire upstairs," coroner Brian Myers said.

The mother was flown to UPMC Mercy Hospital where she underwent surgery late Thursday afternoon.

Her other three children were taken to the hospital to be checked out but, are expected to be OK.

"When things like this happen, it touches everybody, from our office to first responders to everybody in be community," Myers said. "It's heart-wrenching especially this time of year, as any time of year, but hopefully everybody comes together and surrounds this family in their hearts."


Posted by WPXI Melanie Marsalko on Thursday, December 28, 2017

This fire is especially difficult for the Armstrong County community.

On Wednesday, a 16-year-old boy died in a fire in a shed behind his parents' home, about 40 minutes away from this scene.

Before firefighters got on scene, sheriff's deputies in the area tried everything they could to get inside to rescue the two adults and five kids inside.

"I know they would've done everything they could to save these children's lives if they could," Myers said. "Sheriff Rupert from Armstrong County was in the area and heard the call and tried to gain entry into the residence."

Donations are being accepted through any S&T bank location under: Salkind/Hooten Family Fire Victims Fund.