Seven children among 13 killed in Philadelphia house fire
A large house fire in Philadelphia has killed 13 people, including seven children, and injured two others, fire officials said.
Officials said at a news conference on Wednesday morning that there were four smoke detectors in the building but none of them were operating.
Firefighters and police responded to the fire at a three-storey house in the city’s Fairmount neighbourhood at around 6.40am and found flames coming from the second-floor windows, fire officials said. The house had been converted into two apartments, police said.
The fire was brought under control after less than an hour. WPVI-TV reported that at least one child was seen being taken out on a stretcher.
Television news footage showed ladders propped up against the smoke-blackened front of the house, with all its windows missing. Holes remained in the roof where firefighters had broken through.
“I knew some of those kids – I used to see them playing on the corner,” said Dannie McGuire, 34, fighting back tears as she and Martin Burgert, 35, stood in the doorway of a home around the corner. They had lived there for a decade, she said, “and some of those kids have lived here as long as us”.
“I can’t picture how more people couldn’t get out – jumping out a window,” she said.
“Losing so many kids is just devastating,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Keep these babies in your prayers.”
The best videos delivered daily
Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox