At least six people, including children, were unaccounted for in a house fire in southeastern Pennsylvania where two police officers were shot on Wednesday afternoon, the authorities said.
Jack Stollsteimer, the Delaware County district attorney, said at a news conference that police officers responded to a call at 3:47 p.m. reporting that an 11-year-old girl had been shot at a house in East Lansdowne, Pa., just west of Philadelphia.
Shortly after the police arrived at the house two officers were shot, Mr. Stollsteimer said. It was unclear who had shot at the police, but the officers were expected to be “perfectly fine,” the district attorney said.
A short time later, the house went up in flames, Mr. Stollsteimer said, adding that it was unclear what had caused the fire. He said the authorities feared that there were people inside the home. Six to eight people had been unaccounted for, Mr. Stollsteimer said.
“It is our terrible fear that they may be inside that house when it was burned,” he said. “We are hopeful that that is not true.”
Mr. Stollsteimer said that officers and firefighters would not be able to enter the home until the fire was completely extinguished, and would most likely have to wait until the morning to know whether people were inside the home when it went up in flames.
“The fire is still burning,” he said on Wednesday night. “It’s smoldering at this point, but it’s still too dangerous for us to go inside.” He added: “It is just burned out, hollow at this point.”
Officials were hoping that by morning the fire would have burned out completely, so that crews could begin the “excavation” process, Mr. Stollsteimer said.
“There’s going to be a lot of work ahead of us,” he said. “Gruesome work.”
Mr. Stollsteimer did not detail the injuries the officers sustained. He said that he visited the officers at the hospital on Wednesday evening, and that they were “doing well.”
“They gave us a thumbs up,” he said. “Those guys are going to be OK.”