But, an Erie Fire Department spokesman later confirmed that five children had tragically died in the blaze.
Santone said the firefighters "did a hell of a job" knocking down the fire and rescuing the children who were still inside the house within minutes of arriving on the scene.
Reportedly, there was only one smoke detector and the fire might have started from the living room.
"So we are all at a loss, trying to figure out how this happened", Lockett-Slupski told the Erie Times-News.
"And she drove herself to the hospital, and on the way to the hospital, she crashed her vehicle", he was quoted as saying.
Erie's two fire inspectors and three police detectives were investigating the cause of the fire, which triggered major structural damage to the three-story building, according to the paper.
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The day care centre was certified by local authorities until March 2020, The Erie Times-News reported.
The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, a non-profit, lists the address of the home as the Harris Family Daycare.
Photos and videos of the fire's aftermath showed the charred house roped off with yellow police tape.
The victims' identities were not released, but police described the dead as "very young children".
The cause of the fire remained under investigation on Sunday afternoon, Mr Widomski told the newspaper.
The owner managed to escape the burning house and tried to drive herself to the hospital, but was involved in auto crash, resulting in her being airlifted to the nearest hospital, the New York Times reported. "I will make sure that they are turned closed when not in use".