W. Phila fire kills elderly woman

May 21, 2008 10:00:10 AM PDT
She did not have smoke alarms in her apartment. Doris Davis lived upstairs and her sister Jean Morgan lived downstairs in the duplex they owned in the 6100 block of Ludlow Street.

They were fixtures in the neighborhood.

The fire broke out in Davis' upstairs apartment just after 11:00 p.m. last night.

Neighbors called 911 when they saw flames spitting through the roof. Davis' sister made it out, but she couldn't get through her cluttered, narrow hallway to safety.

"It's all types of furniture and things like that that are hindering the firefighters in their attempt to get this fire out," Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said.

Within the past couple years, Ms. Davis's health had deteriorated and she'd lost her daughter and several other relatives.

Firefighters battled the fire for more than a half-hour. One was hurt when he fell out of a second-floor window.

He was treated at Hahnemann Hospital and released.

The fire commissioner is convinced Ms. Davis might've survived, too, if only she'd had an early warning from a smoke alarm.

As soon as firefighters arrived they started to battle through the flames and smoke to reach the trapped woman.

Six people in the building, including the victim's sister, are seeking temporary shelter. Investigators will search for the cause this morning.

The elderly woman is the 18th person in Philadelphia to die in a fire this year. Eleven of those victims were senior citizens.