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Mother, father and 14-year-old son die in early morning house fire


(POTTSTOWN, Pa.) — A family of three — including a mother, father and their teenage son — have all tragically died in an early morning house fire that enveloped their home.

The incident occurred at approximately 2 a.m. early on Monday, June 21, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania — about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia — when a fire swept through the family’s home and a neighbor who noticed the blaze alerted a police officer who happened to be in the area at the time, according to ABC News’ Philadelphia station WPVI-TV.

“From our window of our house I could see some flames coming out of there, but there was a lot of smoke. There was a lot of smoke,” neighbor Christopher Azukas told WPVI in an interview following the incident.

Azukas told WPVI that it was his daughter who initially noticed the fire and alerted the authorities.

“She just ran out and flagged him down and said that there was a fire going on in that house over there,” he said.

Fire crews soon arrived on scene and attempted to rescue the family inside the burning home but were unsuccessful. Authorities, however, were able to save the people living in the home attached to the one where the fire started.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office have so far only identified the father — 48-year-old Joseph Norton — and confirmed that he was pronounced dead from smoke and soot inhalation at Pottstown Hospital. The mother’s name along with her 14-year-old son’s name has not yet been released, according to WPVI.

Azukas said the family mostly kept to themselves but that he would often see them spending time together in their yard.

“[The teenager] was heavily into baseball so I’d see him out back sometimes in the backyard, sometimes practicing baseball and stuff like that,” Azukas told WPVI. “I’d see him and his father go off to the games on weekends and everything, but that was really about it.”

An investigation into how the fire began is underway and even though it is currently unclear what could have started the fire, officials told WPVI that they have an idea of how the blaze began but are not ready to release it at this time.

Authorities, however, did confirm to WPVI that it does not appear the home the family were living in had any working smoke detectors which may have been a contributing factor to the spread of the fire.

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