13 injured when car crowds out in favor of families of dead victims of house fire

More than a dozen people were injured on Saturday after a vehicle struck a crowd in Berwick, Pennsylvania, authorities said.

Geisinger Medical Center, in nearby Danville, was receiving 13 patients by mid-evening, spokesman Natalie Buyny said by email. The circumstances of the injured were not available.

“Staff assess and triage patients for appropriate care,” Buyny said.

Wilkes-Barre’s NBC affiliate WBRE reported that a vehicle hit several people attending a benefit evening in the Berwick neighborhood.

The crowd had gathered to raise money for the families of the three children and seven adults who died in an early morning house fire on Aug. 5 in neighboring Nescopeck.

Saturday’s benefit evening was held in the bar and restaurant of the Intoxicology Department. People had also gathered in an adjacent outdoor area, where several vendors and a basket raffle were set up under tents. The perk also included a water balloon fight and a dunk tank, according to the bar’s social media.

“We can never replace these people who are lost, but we can do our best” to support the family, bar owner Lauren Hess told Wilkes-Barre’s NBC affiliate WBRE at the benefit Saturday.

Saturday night, the bar posted on Facebook that it would be closed until further notice.

“Today was an absolute tragedy,” the post said. “Please respect our privacy as we grieve and try to process the events that have taken place.”

The investigation into the August 5 fire is ongoing, and the Pennsylvania state police have called the case a “complex criminal investigation,” WBRE reported.

The fire broke out before 3 a.m. and first responders reported flames that thwarted their attempts to enter the two-storey house and carry out rescue efforts, authorities said later that day.

The house was burned to the ground and the remains were discovered as authorities went through the rubble.

The deceased included seven adults ranging in age from 19 to 79, two boys ages 5 and 6 and a 7-year-old girl. according to the Pennsylvania State Police.

Nescopeck is a community of over 1,600 people located about 78 miles southwest of Scranton.

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