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13 hurt when car hits crowd at benefit for families of deadly Pa. house fire victims

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

Geisinger Medical Center, in nearby Danville, received 13 patients by mid-evening, spokesperson Natalie Buyny said by email. Conditions of the injured were not available.

“Staff is assessing and triaging patients for appropriate care,” Buyny said.

NBC affiliate WBRE of Wilkes-Barre reported that a vehicle struck multiple people who were attending a benefit in the borough of Berwick.

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

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

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

On 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 while we grieve and try to process the events that occurred.”

The investigation into the Aug. 5 blaze is ongoing, and 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 repelled their efforts to get inside the two story home and make rescues, authorities said later that day.

The home was burned to the ground, and 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 Pennsylvania State Police.

Nescopeck is a borough of more than 1,600 people about 48 miles southwest of Scranton.

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