At least 13 people including seven children have died following an early morning fire that ripped through a duplex in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia on Wednesday, January 5.
The fire began around 6:40 a.m. on the second floor of the rowhome duplex along the 800 block of North 23rd Street, at Ogden Street, in the dense residential neighborhood, Philadelphia police and fire officials said. The house is owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, according to city records.
“This is one of the most tragic days in our city’s history,” Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney said during a Wednesday morning press conference. “Losing so many kids is just devastating.”
Crews first responded to the scene, a three-story building located at 869 North 23rd Street, at 6:38 am on Wednesday. They found flames billowing from the second floor of the three-story structure, but had the fire under control in approximately 50 minutes, Philadelphia Fire Department said.
26 people may have lived in the building, which was owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, officials revealed during a press conference.
Eight people did, however, manage to escape the flames. Two additional victims, one child, and one adult were transported to area hospitals. Their conditions were not immediately clear.
An investigation into the cause of the fire remains active at this hour via the City’s Fire Marshal and other organizations.
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