A grisly search began to unfold on Thursday in the Philadelphia suburbs, where officials feared that several people might be dead in the smoldering remains of a house that burned down after two police officers were shot.
Arson investigators entered the residence in East Lansdowne, Pa., just before 10 a.m. as firefighters continued to hose down the wreckage. The authorities said at least six people, including children, were unaccounted for at the house, which remained unstable and had six feet of water in the basement.
“I think today might be a grim day,” Jack Stollsteimer, the Delaware County district attorney, said in a television interview on Thursday morning. “We know at least the shooter is in there. But there may be other people from the family as well. That is our fear.”
It remains unclear exactly what happened at the home on Lewis Avenue. Mr. Stollsteimer said at a news conference late Wednesday that the authorities had received a report that an 11-year-old girl had been shot there.
The two police officers were injured by gunshots when they went to the scene to investigate, Mr. Stollsteimer said. It was unclear who had fired at them.
The officers, whom the district attorney described as veterans of the force, were expected to be “perfectly fine,” he said.
A short time after the shooting, as a standoff continued between the police and the gunman, the house went up in flames, Mr. Stollsteimer said, adding that it was unclear what had caused the fire. Six to eight people were unaccounted for at the residence, he said.
“The good news is, the officers are doing very well,” Mr. Stollsteimer said in the TV interview on Thursday morning. “One officer was wounded in his forearm, the other was wounded in his leg. We got the thumb’s up from them.”
He said he hoped the officers could leave the hospital later on Thursday.
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