Police ID mother killed in Upper Darby fire

Firefighters looked for the cause of a house fire that has killed an Upper Darby mother and critically injured her daughter.

April 4, 2012 2:39:31 PM PDT
A tragic house fire in Delaware County has claimed the life of a woman and left her young daughter badly burned.

The blaze broke out around 11:30 Tuesday night on the 3800 block of Marshall Road in Upper Darby, Delaware County.

Neighbor Renee Gigante explains, "I heard some screaming outside, so I looked out the window and I saw - you could see the flames coming through the trees."

The flames were thick and heavy, even pouring out the windows of the home. 41-year-old Onya Safo lost her life - her body found by a window in an upstairs bedroom. Her four-year-old daughter Zoe was saved by Upper Darby Police officers who were on routine patrol.

Zoe was rushed to Crozer Chester Medical Center where she remains in critical but stable condition.

John Lee saw the rescue happen. He tells Action News, "You could just see the light, it just lit up. There was fire everywhere. And at that point you could see one of the policemen, the male policeman, brought out the little girl."

31-year-old Officer Montess Trapp, who is also a volunteer firefighter for Garretford Drexel Hill, rushed inside the home while Officer Kelly Seace called in the fire. Trapp found Zoe in the living room unconscious and carried the little girl outside the home.

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood told reporters, "The kid was in critical condition when [Officer Montess Trapp] pulled her out. So, obviously, his actions saved the child's life."

Both Trapp and Seace went in again attempting to get upstairs, but the fire was too heavy.

Authorities say other officers began to evacuate nearby homes as firefighters soon arrived. All five Upper Darby fire companies responded and placed the fire under control in about an hour. Authorities were back again this morning to investigate.

The Canteys live in the connecting home and were evacuated with their young son. They say the damage their home sustained they can replace, and are devastated to hear about the loss of their neighbor.

Aqueelah Cantey says, "It's sad, a child lost their mother, and it's a shame."

There was damage to the homes on both sides of where the blaze occurred, however residents have now been able to get back inside.

The Red Cross plans to canvas the neighborhood to hand out fire safety information and batteries for smoke detectors.