Four children die in Philadelphia row house fire

Posted July 05, 2014, at 12:21 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — Four children died when a fast-moving fire ripped through row houses in a tightly packed Philadelphia neighborhood early Saturday, officials said.

“This is a tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia,” Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer told reporters. “We lost four children today.”

All of the children who died — a newborn and three 4-year-olds — were found in one house, the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported.

Eight homes were destroyed and two others were affected by the blaze, officials said. In all, 42 residents of the 10 homes were displaced by the fire, said Sara Smith, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Peter Alpha said he was awakened by noise early Saturday and looked out his window to see an intense fire several doors down.

“All I saw were people running out, jumping out and crying for their children,” Alpha said.

The intense heat melted parts of cars across the street from the homes along the narrow street.