The call came in around 5:25 p.m. for a fire on the 5800 block of Chestnut Street.
Police say a woman and man were both found dead inside one of the homes. Police have not identified the victims, but neighbors said the man and woman were a brother and sister in their 50s.
"It's two people in there that are handicapped, and all I could think about is they need to get out of there," said neighbor Wanda Brackett. "We heard this boom. When we turned around, the flames were shooting out of the house."
.@PhillyFireDept confirms a man and woman died. Investigators say the pair were trapped and discovered on the second floor. Neighbors say the brother and sister are in their 50s. Officials say a woman and child managed to self evacuate and are being treated at a local hospital pic.twitter.com/EnLeieb1Oq— Christie Ileto (@Christie_Ileto) August 3, 2021
An 11-year-old boy and a 28-year-old woman were able to escape the flames. Both victims were also hospitalized for smoke inhalation but are expected to survive.
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Deacon Antoine Stewart saw the fire from his church across the street, Emmanuel Christian Center, and quickly rushed over to help.
"It was just so hot. We couldn't go in there to help anybody. It was just horrible," said Stewart.
Stewart said the church's food pantry has helped the victims in the past.
"They were taking food over to them on a regular basis," said Stewart. "It just breaks my heart. There's so much tragedy in this neighborhood."
“Everybody knew there was someone in there, but there was nothing we do about it.”- Neighbors stood in horror on the sidewalk waiting for help to arrive. Man, woman died after being trapped in one alarm fire. @6abc https://t.co/B5Ml9X7D69 pic.twitter.com/Lh7KpYTe3w— Christie Ileto (@Christie_Ileto) August 3, 2021
In all, five homes caught fire, according to Philadelphia police.
Investigators are still working to determine what sparked the blaze.
The American Red Cross says it's assisting four families -- a total of 15 people -- affected by the Chestnut Street fire.