Woman killed, companion injured in Strawberry Mansion fire

STRAWBERRY MANSION - December 3, 2013

Just before 9:00 a.m., neighbor Morgan Harley looked out his window and saw smoke coming from the second story of the row home across the street on the 1900 block of Stanley.

86-year-old Leroy Parker was standing outside yelling for help.

His longtime companion, 94-year-old Martha Frasier, was trapped inside the burning home.

Harley called 911 and ran to try to save his elderly neighbor.

"I just ran upstairs to see if I could get her; the smoke just overtook me. I just couldn't get to her on time," Harley told Action News.

Firefighters arrived and extinguished the fire in minutes.

Frasier was found dead in the second floor bedroom.

"I am feeling really bad about it. I just tried to get in there and get to her," Harley said.

Registered Nurse Anita English cared for Frasier, who was visually impaired.

She said the couple's gas service had been turned off in the spring and Frasier and Parker used an old kerosene heater to keep warm.

"I am just hurt that she had to live like this. 94 years old in the city of Philadelphia and nobody could help her. It's very painful for me," English said.

Leroy Parker was taken to Temple University Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

His family says he is doing well and is expected to recover.

Fire investigators are working to determine the cause, but said this fire is a good reminder to use space heaters safely and check your smoke detectors.

The row home had six of them, but not a single smoke alarm was working.

"Make sure you check your smoke alarms. We want to make sure if you don't have smoke alarms, you go purchase smoke alarms," Philadelphia Deputy Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said.

If you can't afford a smoke alarm, call 311. The fire department will come out and install them for free and check to make sure they're working properly.

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