Relatives gathered near the fire that killed 13 people, including 7 children, in the central Philadelphia neighborhood (AFP / Ed JONES) on January 5, 2021.
Jacuita Purifoy loses three sisters and seven nieces and nephews: A fire that engulfed a small community home building early Wednesday morning shook an area in central Philadelphia, killing 12 people, including eight children.
“I do not know what to do, I do not know what to say (…) My sisters, my son – in – law and my daughter – in – law are gone, they will not come back,” sighs, 37-year-old Jagyuta. She saw one of her other sisters, Kadira, wrapped in a red and white Salvation Army blanket.
Relatives of the victims gathered in front of a school, very close to a three-story brick building. The tragedy took place in the central and residential area of Fairmont, near Philadelphia’s major museums.
In the evening, after an initial assessment of the 13 victims, Town Hall announced that twelve people, four adults and eight children had died.
“They’re important to us. They continue to age and die, and can not be avoided. She comforts her sister with tears.
The ten loved ones she lost were between 1 and 33 years old. But she is also worried about another child in the family, 5, being admitted to the hospital. “He doesn’t know what’s going on. He wants his mother, father, sisters, relatives, who lived with him for five years and those he did not know dead,” Jacqueline adds.
– “Intense fire” –
GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Hannah Beier GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Hannah Beier
“This is without a doubt one of the saddest days in the history of our city,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny. Firefighter Craig Murphy spoke of the “terrible number” and described it as “one of the worst fire accidents’ he had ever had in 35 years of training.
Firefighters arrived at the scene at 6:40 a.m. (11:40 GMT) and had to deal with “a severe fire that appeared from the second floor of a house.” “It took 50 minutes to bring the fire under control.
The city-owned building is connected to the federal community housing.
“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.
– Investigation –
In the middle of the row of small houses is a building with a block of brick facades. Many of the windows are completely dark there, as well as part of the roof.
The site of Wednesday’s catastrophic fire in a building in Philadelphia, USA (AFP /)
Firefighters have announced they will begin an investigation to determine how the fire started, why it spread so fast and what the emergency evacuations were. According to Craig Murphy, “there were four smoke detectors, but none worked.” He said two houses were inhabited by “huge numbers of people” and eight people were able to escape the fire and two more were hospitalized.
“We can not judge the number of people who lived in this building,” the mayor added.
Firefighters at the scene of a fire that killed thirteen people, including seven children, in a small building in Philadelphia in the eastern United States (AFP / Ed JONES)
For its part, the Philadelphia Housing Agency promised that the building would be inspected in May 2021 and that all detectors were working at the time.
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.
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