An early morning fire at a row home in Philadelphia has killed three children and one adult, the city’s fire department said Sunday. Twenty-one people have died in fires in the city since January.
Authorities responded to the single-family home after receiving a call about a reported fire shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday in the city’s Kensington neighborhood, Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said. saying at a press conference. Firefighters found a “high volume” fire coming from the first and second floors of the home, but were able to gain entry and “mounted an aggressive interior attack and search for life.”
“When they got in, they were able to start putting out the fire. They were able to get their hands on one of the minors that was inside, and unfortunately it was too late,” Thiel said. The causes of death of the four victims have not yet been determined.
One person was able to escape the fire and was taken to hospital. That person was in stable condition or may have already been released, according to Thiel.
Authorities believe five people were in the house at the time of the fire. The relationships of the victims to each other were not disclosed by firefighters.
The incident remains under investigation. Authorities do not know what caused the fire.
“Friends, Philly has a fire problem. And we need your help because fire is everyone’s fight,” Thiel said.
Since January, 21 people have died in fires in Philadelphia.in a fire in January, and five others have died in fires since then. Thirty-eight people were injured and 312 families, or 758 people, were displaced due to the fires. The city’s Red Cross House, which takes in displaced people, is about 95% full, the fire commissioner said.
“In addition to the incredible work of our firefighters, our doctors, our EMTs, our dispatchers, our fire chiefs, we still have an average of seven to eight serious fires every day,” Thiel said. “One of the busiest fire departments in the nation.”
He said they’re not only responding to incidents, but also installing smoke alarms “non-stop” — 4,271 alarms since Jan. 1.
“However, we are still seeing fires where there are no working smoke alarms,” he said, urging people to call 311 for smoke alarm installations and fire controls.
“Friends, we are here doing everything we can, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We need your help to keep our city safe, to keep our neighbors safe,” Thiel said.