1 dead, 1 critical after Port Richmond fire

November 26, 2012 2:41:21 PM PST
One man was killed and another critically injured in a fast-moving row house fire in Philadelphia's Port Richmond section Monday morning.

Firefighters received the call around 10:00 a.m. for a fire at a home on the 3400 block of Joyce Street. Arriving crews reported heavy fire showing, but managed to quickly bring the blaze under control.

Witnesses say the fire erupted very quickly. Some of the neighbors rushed over to the house and dragged a man out of the front door vestibule area.

Seventy-eight-year-old Robert Schechter was pulled from the house and transported to Temple University Hospital in critical condition, with burns to 90-percent of his body.

When firefighters went inside the building they discovered a second man dead in the second floor front bedroom.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers tells Action News that there were no fire detectors inside the home.

The preliminary investigation has revealed that there were a number of space heaters and other appliances hooked up to a nest of electrical wiring. Investigators suspect that may have been what sparked the fire.

The man who was killed in the fire has been identified as 59-year-old George Sarros.

There's been no official ruling on a cause for the fire, but Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says the home was full of faulty wiring with space heaters attached to undersize extension cords.

"We found a lot of electrical wiring in here that, just to look at it you know the right thing was not being done here."

This was the 21st fire fatality in Philadelphia this year compared to 31 fire deaths that had happened by the same time last year. Most fire deaths are because the victims did not have working smoke detectors in their homes.


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