Philadelphia fire kills 4 kids, destroys 8 houses - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Philadelphia fire kills 4 kids, destroys 8 houses

Posted: Updated:
Philadelphia firefighters work on burned row homes on Saturday, July 5, 2014, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia firefighters work on burned row homes on Saturday, July 5, 2014, in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Fire raced through a row of two-story homes in southwest Philadelphia early Saturday, killing 4-year-old twin girls, a 4-year-old boy and a baby and engulfing at least 10 houses, officials said. A mother and three of her children escaped through a second-floor window.

The blaze began shortly before 3 a.m. and was brought under control in about an hour, fire officials said. At least eight row homes were gutted, leaving behind only charred frames. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but witnesses said it may have begun on a couch on a porch.

The twins' mother, 41-year-old Dewen Bowah, told police she was in the home with seven children and managed to get three of her other daughters out before jumping from second-floor window. But she couldn't save the twins, Maria and Marialla Bowah, or 1-month-old Taj Jacque and 4-year-old Patrick Sanyeah. The boys' mother wasn't in the home at the time.

"We lost four precious lives," Mayor Michael Nutter said at an afternoon news conference. "Four little innocent children, in a horrific tragedy. I can only pray that their pain was not long and they did not truly feel and experience the intensity of this fire and flames."

Bowah and her three surviving daughters were taken to the hospital, but the extent of their injuries was not known.

Jeff Boone told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he saw a couch on fire on the porch of a house about five doors down from his residence and heard children screaming.

The flames spread across porches so fast, he said, that "it looked like someone had a flamethrower and just shot it all across."

The 27-year-old Boone said he called 911 and bolted out of his house to try to save his neighbors.

"I was running, screaming, telling everybody, 'Get up! Yo, get yo! Go!'" he said.

Milton Musa told the newspaper his roommate woke him up and said their home was on fire. Once outside, Musa said, he saw two children hanging from a neighbor's window.

"I could see they weren't strong, and I was afraid they'd fall to the cement," Musa said. "So I went underneath them, let them fall on my back and carried them away."

He wiped away tears as he recalled the intense moments as the blaze swept through the neighborhood.

"Everyone was running for their lives," he said. "I've lost everything. My paperwork, my documents, my house. Everything."

"This is a tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia. Tragic," Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said.

The Red Cross said 42 people were displaced by the fire.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Chula Vista police officer charged with battery

    Chula Vista police officer charged with battery

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:06 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:06:01 GMT
    A Chula Vista Police Department officer was charged Tuesday with four misdemeanor battery counts stemming from an off-duty dispute with his girlfriend's 16-year-old son. 
    A Chula Vista Police Department officer was charged Tuesday with four misdemeanor battery counts stemming from an off-duty dispute with his girlfriend's 16-year-old son. 
  • Crews halt spread of small brush fires near Barona

    Crews halt spread of small brush fires near Barona

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:03 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:03:47 GMT
    A string of fires blackened open swaths of brushy land alongside a rural road just south of Barona Creek Golf Club Tuesday, moving toward some buildings but causing no reported structural damage or injuries. 
    A string of fires blackened open swaths of brushy land alongside a rural road just south of Barona Creek Golf Club Tuesday, moving toward some buildings but causing no reported structural damage or injuries. 
  • 3-alarm fire at Brown Field

    3-alarm fire at Brown Field

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:40 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:40:23 GMT
    An explosive three-alarm fire engulfed a hangar at Brown Field Tuesday, sending a thick plume of black smoke over the airport and forcing a temporary closure of its runways. 
    An explosive three-alarm fire engulfed a hangar at Brown Field Tuesday, sending a thick plume of black smoke over the airport and forcing a temporary closure of its runways. 
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.