Officials say at least 12 people were killed in a fire at a Philadelphia row house on Wednesday morning, with eight of them being children.
After the Philadelphia Fire Department first claimed that 13 individuals had died during the recovery process, including seven children, city officials amended the death toll on Wednesday evening.
Two other people were badly injured, one of them was a toddler, and were taken to hospitals. Self-evacuation was possible for at least eight people.
According to officials, one youngster was rescued from the structure by firefighters, but they did not survive.
Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy told a press conference, “It was horrific.” “I’ve lived in this area for 35 years, and this was certainly one of the worst flames I’ve ever seen.”
The probe into the cause of fire is led by the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Fire Marshal’s Office.
During the press conference, Mayor Jim Kenney stated, “This is without a doubt one of the most sad days in our city’s history.” “It’s awful to lose so many children.”
According to the fire service, the fire started on the second floor of a three-story row house, near a kitchen.
The building was split into two duplex units and housed around 26 people. Eight individuals resided in a unit between the first and second floors, and 18 people resided in one unit between the second and third floors, according to Murphy, a “tremendous quantity of people living in a duplex.”
The Philadelphia Housing Authority was in charge of the complex.
According to the city’s housing authority, the building had six working smoke alarms last May. Dinesh Indala, the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Executive Vice President for Housing Operations, told reporters that housing authority inspectors visited the structure on May 5 of last year, contradicting fire officials’ earlier statements.
According to fire officials, the building had four battery-operated smoke alarms, none operational. According to fire officials, four smoke detectors were installed in 2019 during an inspection, and two more smoke detectors were placed in 2020 at another inspection.
“I’m not sure if they were tampered with or replaced. We don’t know “stated Indala.
According to Indala, the PHA was unaware of the presence of 26 people.
“We’re in a state of complete disbelief. The loss has been felt by all. We’re simply trying to figure out who’s in there right now, and we’re coordinating with the families and law enforcement “He expressed himself.
This story was contributed to by Aaron Katersky and Will McDuffie of ABC News.