Woman, little girl killed in Philadelphia fire

March 5, 2009 3:03:50 PM PST
An early morning house fire in the Point Breeze section of Philadelphia has killed a woman and an eight-year-old girl.The blaze broke out just after 3:00 a.m. on Thursday in the house on the 2000 block of Morris Street.

When firefighters arrived they found flames spitting out of the windows.

Firefighters found the little girl, identified as Hynia Jackson, in the hallway on the second floor. She was pronounced dead at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

The woman who died in the flames, 29-year-old Keisha Jackson, was found in a second floor bedroom.

Keisha Jackson and the children moved into the apartment with her boyfriend, 38-year-old Jason Morris, just two weeks ago.

As the fire burned, Morris jumped out of the bedroom window. Jackson threw their two-year-old son and her one-year-old daughter down to him.

"She went back to grab Hynia, the eight-year-old, but she never came back to the window," Morris said. "I waited, and I looked up and said "Keisha, Keisha' like 10 times. I'm like, 'What the hell?' so me and the guys start kicking the door, but it was locked."

Morris, along with the two small children who made it out, are expected to be fine.

Fire officials suspect that the blaze was caused by a lamp cord illegally hooked up to bypass the electric meter.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said the house was illegally hooked up to electrical and water lines and possibly also a gas line.

Morris says he's a renter, and doesn't know anything about those hookups.

Ayers told Action News that the family appeared to be living on the edge in an effort to try to survive.

"Just found a real tough living condition in there, as far as a family trying to survive," Ayers said. "Just a real sad scene."

Last year, the fire department found 17 illegal electrical hookups in house fires, and five of those hookups were determined to have caused the fires. One resulted in a death.

Neighbor Helena McCurry heard the tragedy unfolding.

"I just laid down and next thing I know I just heard somebody hollering. I got to the window, and a guy was out there, telling her to 'come out,'" McCurry said. "The smoke was crazy already."

The fire spread to a corner store, but firefighters were able to stop it there.

So far this year, seven people have died in fires in the city, the same number by this time last year.

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