Father, children jump from burning building in Strawberry Mansion

PHILADELPHIA - November 21, 2013

The fire broke out shortly around 3:30 a.m. on the 2500 block of West Sergeant Street.

Fire crews arrived to find smoke showing from the first and second floors of a 2-story building that houses a grocery store.

The store owner and his children live above the store. Eddie Manzanillo was awakened by smoke detectors.

Facing choking smoke billowing up the stairway, he went to a side second-floor window, lowered his kids to the ground and then followed.

Speaking in Spanish to friend Louis Velez, he described what happened.

"When he saw there was a lot of smoke he got a little frantic and went and got the children," Velez told Action News. "He went out the back. He let them down the one window as far as he could before he let them go. He was afraid that they were going to get hurt, so he tried to stretch as far as he could down, holding their arms before he let them go out of the second floor."

Manzanillo's 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son were taken to St. Christopher's Hospital to be treated for ankle pain.

Both were treated and released.

It took firefighters 55 minutes to bring the heavy, smoky fire under control.

While Manzanillo lost his business, he is happy his children are safe.

For fire officials this was a happy ending as well - and testament to the critical edge smoke detectors can give people who are asleep when fire breaks out.

Investigators are working to determine what sparked the blaze.

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