Two firefighters have died while fighting a house fire in Wilmington early Saturday morning, authorities have confirmed.
Lt. Christopher Leach, 41, and firefighter Jerry Fickes, 51, both of the Wilmington Fire Department, were killed when the floor became weak and collapsed beneath them, the department’s chief told reporters.
Four other firefighters were injured, including two others who fell through the floor with Leach and Fisk, according to Philly.com.
Four children and another adult were also taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, 6ABC News reported. Their conditions were not immediately available.
The house fire began just before 3 a.m. at a rowhouse on the 1900 block of Lakeview Road, where firefighters reportedly met heavy flames in the back of the home.
Ed, no last name given, told Delaware Online he lives about 100 feet from the home and reportedly said he’d never seen so many firefighters in the neighborhood.
"It was a huge pile of fire coming out of the front door," he told the website. "I said to myself, 'How the hell are (firefighters) going to get in there."
"This is a very tragic day for the Wilmington Fire Department," Wilmington Fire Chief Anthony Goode reportedly said. "All of our family is hurting significantly. The entire city is hurting significantly. I know I am."
Goode said Leach and Fickes were 14- and 13-year veterans of the force, respectively. Both men had children and families, per Delaware Online.
Investigators continue to determine the cause of the fire.