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Family feared dead as house set on fire after reported shooting of girl, 11

At least six people are feared dead after a house fire followed police being called to reports of the shooting of an 11-year-old girl.

Officers were called to the home in East Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, shortly before 4pm on Wednesday. When they arrived, a gunman opened fire from inside, shooting two officers who were later dragged to safety by colleagues.

“Our fear is there may be multiple people inside that home who have died,” Jack Stollsteimer, the Delaware County District Attorney, said.

“We don’t know yet whether or not we can confirm or deny that until we get inside and methodically go through the debris that that house is now.”

The officers, both veterans, are in stable condition and are expected to make a full recovery, he added.

Shortly after the officers were shot, the house was engulfed in flames. While it was not immediately clear what had started the fire, authorities fear people were inside.

Around six to eight people, including children, are unaccounted for after the house fire
Around six to eight people, including children, are unaccounted for after the house fire - Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Around six to eight people are unaccounted for, according to Mr Stollsteimer.

He confirmed that authorities know there were “a lot of people living in that house, including children”, saying: “It is our terrible fear that they may be inside that house when it was burned. We are hopeful that that is not true.”

Sharon Johnson, a crossing guard who witnessed the shooting, told NBC10: “I was there, a cop came flying around the corner.

“He got out and then he’s in front of the house talking to two people. And then all of a sudden I heard six or seven gunshots. Cops got down on the ground and I ran and took off.”

The remains of the house have been deemed too dangerous for the authorities to enter
The remains of the house have been deemed too dangerous for the authorities to enter - Matt Rourke/AP

The fire was still burning late on Wednesday evening, and the house was deemed too dangerous for authorities to enter.

“There’s going to be a lot of work ahead of us,” said Mr Stollsteimer said. “Gruesome work.” He predicted that the earliest authorities may be able to get into the property to confirm the number of people who had died would be Thursday morning, if the fire had burnt out by then.

Authorities have not yet identified the family or possible victims.