Fire destroys homes in Port Richmond

PORT RICHMOND - July 21, 2013

The blaze broke out just after 1:00 a.m. Sunday in the 2800 block of Memphis Street and quickly spread along the block.

"We had some fire on the interior of the dwellings as well and the company managed to get that. We did have some collapse from the porch fronts; nobody was hurt," Battalion Chief Anthony Sneidar said.

Fortunately, even though many residents were asleep when the fire broke out, they all got out safely.

Police suspect that arson is the cause of an early morning blaze that ripped through five homes in Port Richmond.

One of the homes belonged to Jose Reyes who says he lost everything.

"We almost burned. Everybody. Because it was like 1:00 in the morning," fire victim Jose Reyes said. "When I went downstairs, it was like 'Fire! Fire!'"

Reyes is counting his blessings. He, his wife, and his two young children safely escaped the fierce flames that attacked and destroyed five homes on the block.

Witness Shirah Gist tells Action News she heard an explosion and then watched the flames move furiously down the block.

"To see families basically lose everything is tragic. You see families coming out and they're crying because they had their lives, essentially everything they worked hard for, lost," Gist said.

A Fire Marshal on scene did not confirm an explosion and said a cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

Overnight, fire crews worked quickly to contain the massive flames. Keeping the firefighters hydrated in a heat wave was a top propierty.

"Making sure once they get their jobs done, getting them cooled down, getting them hydrated, making sure they're taken care of," Sneidar said.

Front porches collapsed in the fire. Licenses and Inspections was called to the remove the debris.

Fire victim Nicole Frazier says she is still in a state of shock by the orange condemned notice plastered on her deeply charred home.

She says she returned home from work at 7:00 a.m. and passed out when she saw the devastating scene. She says she was treated at Temple University Hospital.

"Everything is gone; everything you work hard for is gone," said Nicole Frazier.

The Red Cross says the five families they are assisting have found places to go while the investigation continues.

Fire officials say they're hoping K-9s can assist with the investigation and determine if an accelerant was used.

Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.