TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Philadelphia row home fire may have begun in couch

AP
Philadelphia firefighters watch as a front wall collapses from a burned row home on Saturday, July 5, 2014, in Philadelphia. Authorities say the fast-moving fire early Saturday has killed four children. Fire department officials say there is no immediate word on how many others were injured in the blaze that destroyed eight homes in the row and engulfed a total of 10 houses.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Saturday, July 5, 2014, 2:06 p.m.
 

PHILADELPHIA — A fire that raced through a row of two-story homes in southwest Philadelphia early Saturday, killing three 4-year-olds and a baby and engulfing at least 10 houses, may have started in a couch on a porch, officials said.

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. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A fire department dispatcher identified the victims as 4-year-old twin girls, a 4-year-old boy and a month-old boy. The relationship between the twins and the two boys was unclear. Four other people were injured.

Jeff Boone told The Philadelphia 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.”

The 27-year-old Boone said he called 911 and bolted out of his house to try to save his neighbors.

“I was running, screaming, telling everybody, 'Get up! Yo, get yo! Go!'” he said.

Milton Musa told the newspaper his roommate woke him up and said their home was on fire. Once outside, Musa said, he saw two children hanging from a neighbor's window.

“I could see they weren't strong, and I was afraid they'd fall to the cement,” Musa said. “So I went underneath them, let them fall on my back and carried them away.”

He wiped away tears as he recalled the intense moments as the blaze swept through the neighborhood.

“Everyone was running for their lives,” he said. “I've lost everything. My paperwork, my documents, my house. Everything.”

A preliminary investigation indicated the blaze started in a couch at one home and spread quickly to other residences.

“This is a tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia. Tragic,” Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said. “We lost four children today.”

The Red Cross said 42 people were displaced by the fire.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out
  2. Police seize phones of some Norwin High School students
  3. Rossi: Fleury is, and will remain, Penguins’ soul
  4. Ross brothers ordered to pay fine, remove debris from Christmas display
  5. Steelers film session: Watt kept under control
  6. 2 stores robbed in Alle-Kiski Valley
  7. Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out
  8. 7 in custody after New Kensington drug raid
  9. Official: Buyer expected soon
  10. Testing legs, giving backup goalie a chance are Penguins’ priorities
  11. Clairton residents share concerns over sewage bills
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.