July 05, 2014
A fast-moving rowhouse fire in southwest Philadelphia early Saturday left four children dead, burned through a number of homes and displaced more than 40 people, officials said.
The victims have not been identified, but an official reportedly said they included twin 4-year-old girls, a 4-year-old boy and a 1-month-old boy, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The blaze began shortly before 3 a.m. and was brought under control in about an hour, fire officials said. At least eight row homes were completely gutted, leaving behind only charred frames, and four others were injured, authorities said.
A neighbor whose home was destroyed in the blaze told the newspaper the victims were “good children.” “They didn’t deserve this. No one expects this. It’s hurting everyone,” Jaka Kaba said.
Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer called the events ‘tragic.”
“This is a tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia. Tragic,” Sawyer said. “We lost four children today.”
Jeff Boone told The Inquirer that he saw a couch on fire on the porch of a house about five doors down from his residence and heard children screaming.
The flames spread across porches so fast, he said, that “it looked like someone had a flamethrower and just shot it all across.”
He called 911 and bolted out of his house to try to save his neighbors, the 27-year-old Boone said.
“I was running, screaming, telling everybody, ‘Get up! Yo, get yo! Go!”‘ he said.
A resident who was alerted to the fire by his roommate told Philly.com he saw two kids hanging from a neighbor’s window and stopped to help rescue them.
“Everyone was running for their lives,” Milton Musa told Philly.com. “I’ve lose everything. My paperwork, my documents, my house. Everything,” he said.
The Red Cross says 42 people have been displaced by the fire. A shelter has been set up at Bartram High School to assist victims.