PHILADELPHIA — A fire that raced through a row of two-story homes in southwest Philadelphia early Saturday, killing three 4-year-olds and a baby and engulfing at least 10 houses, may have started in a couch on a porch, officials said.
The blaze began shortly before 3 a.m. and was brought under control in about an hour, fire officials said. At least eight row homes were gutted, leaving behind only charred frames. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
A fire department dispatcher identified the victims as 4-year-old twin girls, a 4-year-old boy and a month-old boy. The relationship between the twins and the two boys was unclear. Four other people were injured.
Jeff Boone told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he saw a couch on fire on a porch about five doors down from his residence and heard children screaming.
The 27-year-old 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 that his roommate woke him up and said their home was on fire. Once outside, Musa said, he saw two children hanging out of 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.”