A large house fire in Philadelphia has killed 13 people, including seven children, and injured two others, fire officials said.
Officials said at a news conference on Wednesday morning that there were four smoke detectors in the building but none of them were operating.
Firefighters and police responded to the fire at a three-storey house in the city’s Fairmount neighbourhood at around 6.40am and found flames coming from the second-floor windows, fire officials said. The house had been converted into two apartments, police said.
Television news footage showed ladders propped up against the smoke-blackened front of the house, with all its windows missing. Holes remained in the roof where firefighters had broken through.
“I knew some of those kids – I used to see them playing on the corner,” said Dannie McGuire, 34, fighting back tears as she and Martin Burgert, 35, stood in the doorway of a home around the corner. They had lived there for a decade, she said, “and some of those kids have lived here as long as us”.
“I can’t picture how more people couldn’t get out – jumping out a window,” she said.
“Losing so many kids is just devastating,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Keep these babies in your prayers.”