Couple critical, grandson hurt in Kensington row house fire

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A couple is critical and their 4-year-old grandson is hospitalized after a smoky house fire in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. (WPVI)

A couple is critical and their 4-year-old grandson is hospitalized after a smoky house fire in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.

The blaze broke out around 11 a.m. Friday in the 3300 block of E Street.

"I saw a little boy inside the door with a phone in his hand shaking," said neighbor Rashaun Pinder of Kensington.

The frantic 4-year-old told Pinder his grandparents were upstairs. He called 911 and grabbed the child before he could run toward the fire.

"He had black stuff on his face. He was shaking. He was gasping for air. He almost fell down the steps, and got back up and ran in there" said Pinder. "I think he was trying to go upstairs and get water and put the fire out."

The child was rushed to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. His condition is unknown at this time.

When firefighters arrived, they found the 4-year-old's grandparents, 57-year-old Jovino Franco and 70-year-old Alegilta Roman.

Immediately EMT crews began CPR that continued as the couple was moved to waiting ambulances and rushed to Temple University Hospital for burns and other injuries.

"Those folks were transported with CPR in progress. We believe our medics were able to give a better chance for one of those folks, but again were hopeful for a positive outcome," said Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.

Fire officials do not know what sparked the blaze that appears to have started on the second floor.

Neighbors say the couple, who lived in the house for decades, were raising four grandchildren. Three were in school at the time of the fire.

They say the couple went out of their way to help everyone on the block.

"Nicest people in the world. They're very good. Almost family," said Yari Vargas, neighbor.

"When my son broke his arm, he drove me to the hospital cause I didn't have a car, so he was like 'Come on, let's go. You need me to ride back? Call me. I'll bring you back,' " said Brenda Steger, neighbor.

Action News is told firefighters were able to contain the blaze to one home.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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