The fire broke out Tuesday night in a farmhouse in the town of Blain, west of Harrisburg. A 3-year-old girl smelled smoke and ran to a barn where her mother was milking cows.
The mother told a neighbor to call 911, and then ran to get her husband who had fallen asleep in his milk delivery truck a mile away.
By the time they got back, the two-story home was engulfed in flames. Firefighters had arrived and were battling the blaze at the charred home, whose windows were blown out. A car parked beside the house was burned to the bare metal, its windows shattered.
The seven children died of smoke inhalation, according to the Perry County coroner. Officials said they were six girls, ranging in age from 7 months to 11 years old, and a 7-year-old boy.
Public records indicate the parents are Theodore and Janelle Clouse. A neighbor described the family as hard-working.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation. The children's grandfather, Noah Sauder, told The Associated Press the blaze may have started in the kitchen, where the family used a propane heater.