Breaking News Bar
updated: 7/6/2014 9:46 AM

Investigators seek cause of deadly row house fire

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Philadelphia firefighters walk past burned row homes on Saturday in Philadelphia after a fast-moving row house fire early Saturday left four children dead. Fire department officials say there is no immediate word on how many others were injured in the blaze that destroyed eight homes in the row and engulfed a total of 10 houses.

      Philadelphia firefighters walk past burned row homes on Saturday in Philadelphia after a fast-moving row house fire early Saturday left four children dead. Fire department officials say there is no immediate word on how many others were injured in the blaze that destroyed eight homes in the row and engulfed a total of 10 houses.
    associated press

 
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Fire officials planned to return to a charred block of row homes Sunday to investigate the cause of a blaze that killed three 4-year-olds and a baby and engulfed at least 10 residences.

The fire erupted early Saturday and raced from row home to row home, leaving behind only charred frames. One witness said the blaze may have begun on a couch on a porch.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Twin sisters Maria and Marialla Bowah were among the dead. Their father, Pennoh Davis, told WPVI-TV that they loved to attend Sunday school.

"My little girls, they loved to play, loved to read, loved to draw and loved to sing," Davis said.

The girls' mother, Dewen Bowah, told police she was home with seven children and managed to get her three other daughters out before jumping from a second-floor window. But she couldn't save the twins, 1-month-old Taj Jaque 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 Saturday. "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."

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."

About 100 firefighters responded to the blaze. Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer called it a "tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia."

The Red Cross said 32 people were displaced by the fire.

Share this page
  • This article filed under:
  • News
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here