Originally published on Sat July 5, 2014 12:00 pm
A fire that swept through a stretch of Philadelphia row houses early today has killed four children in what the city's fire commissioner has described as a "tragic, tragic day."
The Associated Press reports that the fast-moving fire, which started just before 3 a.m. ET, consumed a row of two-story homes in a southwest Philadelphia neighborhood dominated by African immigrants, engulfing about 10 residences.
NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports that a shelter has been set up at a nearby high school to accommodate about 40 residents who were forced to flee the three-alarm fire.
Philadelphia Fire Department Commissioner Derrick Sawyer says that investigators are working to find out the cause.
"This is a tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia," Sawyer said. "We lost four children today. And I want everyone to understand that fire is everyone's fight, not just the fire department. It's everyone's fight."