PHILADELPHIA, PA — A fire in a Philadelphia row house left at least 13 people killed, seven of whom were children, according to the Philadelphia Fire Department.
Two others, including one child, were critically injured and have been transported to hospitals.
"It was terrible," Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said during a news conference. "I've been around for 35 years now, and this was probably one of the worst fires I've ever been to."
The fire has been extinguished, but there is still an ongoing recovery effort, including a thorough investigation.
The fire started in the second story of a three-story row house, according to the department, around a kitchen.
The building was divided into two duplex units. Eight people lived in the first and second floor unit, and 18 people lived in the second and third floor unit, which Murphy said was a "tremendous amount of people to be living in a duplex."
There were four smoke detectors in the building, none of which were working. An inspection was made in 2019 to install four smoke detectors, and the latest inspection was made in 2020, when two more smoke detectors were installed.
"Preliminary information indicates companies arrived at 6:40 a.m. and found heavy fire coming from the second floor of a three-story rowhouse," the Philadelphia Fire Department tweeted. "It took 50 minutes to place the fire under control."
Preliminary information indicates companies arrived at 6:40 a.m. and found heavy fire coming from the second floor of a three-story rowhouse. It took 50 minutes to place the fire under control. More to come.— Philadelphia Fire (@PhillyFireDept) January 5, 2022
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.