Seven children were among 13 people killed when a fire tore through public housing apartments in the eastern US city of Philadelphia on Wednesday, a fire officer said.
The Philadelphia Fire Department official told reporters that the toll was “dynamic” and that it had been the worst fire he had seen in 35 years on the job.
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The city’s fire department said its officers arrived at the scene at 6:40 am (11:40 GMT) “and found heavy fire coming from the second floor of a three-story rowhouse.”
“PFD responded to a fatal fire this morning on the 800 block of N. 23rd St,” it said in a Tweet.
“It took 50 minutes to place the fire under control.”
US networks including NBC and CBS reported that the blaze in the Fairmount area of the city had killed 13 people.
The Philadelphia Inquirer said that the rowhouse was owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority.
The newspaper cited police as saying that the three-story home had been converted into two apartments.
Neighbors spoken to by local media said they had been shaken by the fire.
Bill Richards, who lives nearby, told the Inquirer that shortly before 7:00 am he had heard a woman scream “Oh my god, oh my god.”
“It’s totally devastating and upsetting,” he said.
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