(Philadelphia) Thirteen people, including seven children, have been killed in a fire at a small apartment building in central Philadelphia, one of the deadliest fires in the eastern United States.
“For now, the death toll is 13 (dead),” said Craig Murphy, a firefighter at the scene, who said seven of the victims were children.
“It’s a terrible record,” he continued during a press conference broadcast live on Twitter from the scene of the tragedy, noting that it was “one of the worst fires he has ever had in 35 years of fitness.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny added: “This is without a doubt one of the saddest days in the history of our city.
Firefighters arrived at the scene at 6:40 a.m. and had to deal with “a serious fire from the second floor of a house.” “It took 50 minutes to bring the fire under control.
A tragic fire broke out in a small building owned by the city and affiliated with federal social housing in the central and residential area of Fairmont, where Philadelphia’s largest museums are located.
“According to my parishioners, the people living there are in need of help,” Ruslan Borovi, a pastor of a nearby Ukrainian Catholic church, told AFP. “It’s a great tragedy, we’m going to pray tonight and see how we can help them,” he added.
The building sits in the middle of a row of small houses, with a block of brick facades common to some American cities. Many of the windows that come out of the firefighters’ ladder, and part of the roof, are completely dark.
An open investigation
According to firefighter Craig Murphy, “there were four smoke detectors, but none worked.” He added that “a very large number of people” lived in only two apartments.
According to Craig Murphy, eight people were evacuated from the scene of the fire and two were hospitalized.
“We can’t judge the number of people living in this building,” the mayor added, adding, however, that “perhaps, there should be shelter for members of these families.”
Firefighters and the townhall announced an investigation was underway to determine the circumstances under which the fire started.
“It should not be considered suspicious, but we are all on deck because of the size of this fire,” a fire department spokeswoman told reporters.
Philadelphia, a large city in Pennsylvania, has one of the sixth most populous cities in the United States (approximately 1.5 million people). In 2008, seven migrants were killed when a kerosene heater exploded in a small brick building.
In December 2017, a fire around the Bronx in New York City killed 12 people, including four children, making it the worst in the city in 25 years. The commotion was caused by a three-and-a-half-year-old child playing in a gas stove.