Many people who died after the fire shed tears through the Fairmount Rowhome apartments in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA — At least 13 people, including seven children, died Wednesday morning when a massive fire tore through an overcrowded three-story home in Philadelphia, authorities said.

“Nothing slows a fire to move,” Philadelphia Fire Department First Deputy Commissioner Craig Murphy said at a news conference Wednesday, calling it one of the worst fires he’s ever attended. in his 35-year career.

Murphy said at least two other people, including a child, have been transported to a local hospital, and the death toll remains “dynamic”. A 36-year-old man rescued from the fire is being treated for second-degree burns to his leg and is in serious but stable condition, according to WPIV-TV.

Murphy said the Philadelphia Housing Authority, which owns the building, inspected it and installed at least four battery-operated smoke detectors in 2019. During an inspection in 2020, the agency installed more. Two other detectors, Murphy said, but “none of them worked” in Wednesday’s fire.

He also suggested that the building, which had been converted into two apartments, was already overcrowded. At least 26 people were inside at the time of the fire, including eight on the first floor.

“That’s a large number of people living in a duplex,” he said.

In one Interview with KYW-TV, PHA’s executive vice president of housing operations, Dinesh Indala, said the agency was unaware that many people were living in the building. Indala said testing is done every year, and the batteries in two detectors were replaced during a test of one of the units in May 2021.

The tragic death toll is nearly double that of the devastating 2014 fire in Philadelphia that claimed the lives of seven people, including four children.

“This is without a doubt one of the most tragic days in the history of our city, the loss of so many people in such a tragic way,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Losing so many children is just devastating.”

Murphy said crews were called to the scene at 6:40 a.m. to find “heavy fire” coming from the second floor, which appeared to be a kitchen area. It took 50 minutes to bring the fire under control.

There are only two entrances to the house — a front and rear entrance. Eight people have evacuated themselves, he said.

Neighbors described being woken up by screams, just as firefighters arrived on the scene to put out a raging blaze that left window frames charred.

“About a quarter of seven, I heard a woman scream, ‘Oh my god, my god,’ a neighbor, Bill Richards, told Questioner.

By mid-morning, the streets of the Fairmount neighborhood were packed with ambulances, victims’ families and devastated passersby. The overnight rain left 23rd Street full of puddles, a stark contrast to the pungent smell in the air.

Susan Cosby, a local PHA resident, told The Daily Beast: “It was a tragedy waiting to happen. “[Seven] dead babies, thirteen people who shouldn’t die, live in PHA. ”

The house has been owned by the PHA since 1967, according to deed records reviewed by Philadelphia Inquirer.

The city’s fire department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are conducting a thorough investigation, authorities said. Many people who died after the fire shed tears through the Fairmount Rowhome apartments in Philadelphia


ClareFora is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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