Elderly woman killed in fire

January 1, 2009 2:27:44 PM PST
Fire at an apartment complex in the Bustleton section of Philadelphia has killed a 70-year-old woman and injured seven others, including two firefighters.

The fire started shortly after midnight and burned for more than 2 hours in the city's Bustleton section along Bustleton Avenue between Benson and Hoffnagle.

A 70-year-old woman was transported from the scene and officials tell Action News she had no vital signs. She died at Torresdale Hospital.

Medics took seven other victims to Temple for burns and other injuries. Their conditions are all reported to be stable. Two firefighters also suffered minor injuries during the blaze.

The fire hit at least several units on the top floor of the 3-story apartment building, gutting some of them.

Firefighters declared that the blaze was under control around 2:30 a.m. While no official cause for the fire has been announced, Philadelphia fire officials have said that the blaze appears to have started by accident.

Witnesses say they saw holiday decorations burning, but at this point it's unclear if those decorations sparked the fire, or were simply ignited by the blaze.

There's no word yet about the identity of the woman who was killed.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says the building had a properly working smoke alarm system that did function.

However, Ayers said his chief concern was that some of the residents heard the alarm, but failed to evacuate timely, resulting in rescues being necessary.

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