Smoking blamed for fire that killed pregnant woman, 2 sons

'Discarded smoking material' sparked fire on porch

HAMBURG, Pa. - Investigators have determined the cause of a fire that killed a pregnant woman and two children in Hamburg earlier this month.

"Discarded smoking material" sparked the fast-moving inferno on the home's back porch late on the night of September 2, according to Trooper Jansen Herb, a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal, who ruled the fire accidental.

"They had well over 400-plus hours involved in that fire to determine the cause," Deputy Chief Jarrod Emes, Union Fire Co. No. 1 of Hamburg, told 69 News.

Jennifer Wilder, 27, and her sons, Gabriel Kalinofski, 5, and Julian Gust, 2, died in the fire.

"The mother, she was found protecting the 2-year-old. She was doing what she could under those circumstances to protect the smallest child," said state police Trooper David Beohm, a public information officer for Reading-based Troop L.

The victims' bodies were found on the second floor of the house, located in the 400 block of South Fourth Street.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families that are all involved and also with those that were involved in the rescue efforts," Emes said. "We spent a lot of time... working with the members that were directly involved that night with providing counseling and coaching sessions."

"It’s a fatal fire and it involves children, so that is always hard for even seasoned firemen or policemen to get over that," Beohm told 69 News.

A man was able to escape the burning home through a bedroom window, police said. He was treated for burns at Lehigh Valley Hospital near Allentown.

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