13 dead, including 7 children, in Philadelphia fire at house converted into apartments, officials say
(CNN) — Thirteen people — including seven children — died in a fire at a three-story row home in Philadelphia on Wednesday morning, a deputy fire commissioner said.
Philadelphia police described the address as a home converted into two apartments in the city’s Fairmount neighborhood.
“It was terrible,” Philadelphia Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said. “This is probably one of the worst fires I ever been to.”
Firefighters responded to flames Wednesday morning at the row house at 869 of N. 23rd Street, about 2.5 miles northwest of the Center City district, Murphy said.
They arrived around 6:40 a.m. “and found heavy fire coming from the second floor,” the Philadelphia Fire Department said.
It took 50 minutes to place the fire under control, the fire department said.
“This is without a doubt one of the most tragic days in our city’s history — lost of so many people in such a tragic way,” Mayor Jim Kenney said at the start of a news conference late Wednesday morning.
“Losing so many kids is just devastating. … Keep these babies in your prayers,” Kenney said.
Investigators are trying to determine the origin and cause of the fire, according to a law enforcement official who confirmed that 13 people died. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.
Both police and fire officials are on location, police said, and the scene is still active despite the fire being under control, the fire department said.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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