Officials: Arson leaves 1 man dead, 90 year old injured in South Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia officials are investigating an arson that left one man dead in South Philadelphia.

Firefighters were called Saturday just before 5:30 a.m. to the 200 block of Tree Street for fire and smoke showing from a house.

Police say firefighters discovered the body of a man inside the home while fighting the blaze.

Officials have not released the victim's cause of death at this time.

A 90-year-old woman, who lives next door to the fire scene, was also injured with burns on her hands but is currently listed in stable condition, officials say.

"We heard some glass shatter, saw some smoke, we ran around, and this house was lit up completely. Flames were coming out of the windows," said Ed Carlin, who lives nearby.

Carlin says he helped carry the 90 year old then went back to see if any neighbors were trapped inside.

"I tried to run up the steps, but the flames were crazy. I couldn't get up there," Carlin added.

John Savalauskas, who also lives in the neighborhood, said, "I started banging on everybody's door to get everybody awake, let them know about the house on fire here."

Neighbors say the house has been a problem for years, and they all had called 911 multiple times before trying to get the man who lived there help.

"When PECO shut the power off (in the home) a few months ago, they started lighting candles at night to see. So everyone was worried about that, of course, and today our worst fears played out," said neighbor Chris Tinari.

The fire marshal is investigating the incident as arson but has not released a cause.

"It's sad to see someone go the way he did, and if it's arson, I hope they get who did it," added Savalauskas.

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