A Pennsylvania dad and two of his sons have died after a house fire tore through their home on Christmas morning.
Authorities say the fire started at the home of the King family at 1:22 a.m. Saturday in Quakertown and killed Eric King and his two young sons, Liam and Patrick, according to FOX 29 of Philadelphia.
Eric King’s wife Kristin and the couple’s oldest son Brady were able to escape the flames while the rest of the family was trapped inside. The two surviving members of the family were treated for smoke inhalation at the hospital.
The two family dogs also perished in the fire.
Fire had already engulfed the house when firefighters arrived, and the flames were not brought under control until 2:34 a.m.
The fire started in the area near the Christmas tree and its lighting, according to NBC 10 Philadelphia but authorities say the investigation into the official cause is ongoing.
“This news is devastating for the District community and the Quakertown area at large,” the local school district said in a statement. “Eric and Kristin are very active in the community, and the kind of people who make this a special place to live and attend school. The School District sends its heartfelt sympathy to the King family and their many friends and relatives.”
“He seems like he’s a cordial guy,” Schmeck said, referring to the president. “There’s no animosity or anything like that. It was merely just an innocent jest to also express my God-given right to express my frustrations in a joking manner. … I love him just like I love any brother or sister.”
Schmeck added he “stood 100% behind what I did and what I said,” according to the paper.
“At the end of the day, I have nothing against Mr. Biden,” Schmeck said in the same interview with The Oregonian, “but I am frustrated because I think he can be doing a better job. I mean no disrespect to him.”
A caller from Oregon who tagged on “Let’s go, Brandon” when ending his Christmas Eve phone chat with President Biden last week now says he’s being “attacked” for what he claims was a “joke.”
“And now I am being attacked for utilizing my freedom of speech,” Jared Schmeck, 35, a former Medford police officer, told The Oregonian newspaper Saturday.
Schmeck said he has been receiving vague but threatening phone calls after his call to Biden on Friday was live-streamed and reported in the media.
“I am being attacked for utilizing my freedom of speech.”
— Jared Schmeck, caller to President Biden
“I understand there is a vulgar meaning to ‘Let’s go, Brandon,’ but I’m not that simple-minded, no matter how I feel about him,” Schmeck told the news outlet.
The livestreamed call drew media attention in part because Biden responded, “’Let’s go, Brandon,’ I agree,” even though the phrase has been used by the president’s critics to mock him.
But Schmeck, a father of four, claimed Saturday he had no ill feelings toward the president, even though he believes Biden “can be doing a better job.”
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden speak with the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, via teleconference in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus in Washington, Friday, Dec. 24, 2021.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden speak with the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, via teleconference in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus in Washington, Friday, Dec. 24, 2021. (Associated Press)