Young mother killed in high rise fire

January 7, 2009 3:08:16 PM PST
Tragedy at a North Philadelphia high rise. A young woman died while trying to escape an early morning fire. The blaze broke out around 4:30 this morning in the Norris Apartments on the 2000 block of North 11th Street.

Investigators say someone left a cigarette burning, sparking the fire. The smoker got out alive.

However, 24-year-old Peggy Davis was trying to evacuate her apartment and it appears she fell and died. She had recently moved into her apartment.

An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday to determine the exact cause of death.

More than 400 residents escaped the flames including children and the elderly.

According to survivors of the fire, it was very smoky inside the building - it was hard to navigate through the halls and stairways.

A thick, choking black smoky flooded the 4th floor early this morning. Firefighters using ladders ushered residents out through windows and doorways.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers told reporters at the scene, "We had many transports - a total of 16 by 7 medic units - taking folks to hospitals in the area. We had 6 transported to Hahnemann Hospital."

The fire apparently began in apartment B28.

"It was a freak kind of an accident... The smoke was not from her apartment. The smoke emanated from another woman's apartment. The victim, in rushing to leave her apartment with her two small children, fell somehow and was actually killed somehow in that fall," explained Kirk Dorn, P.H.A. spokesman.

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