1 killed in boarding house blaze in North Philadelphia

Katherine Scott Image
Friday, November 7, 2014
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One man is dead and 23 displaced after a fast-moving fire at a boarding house in North Philadelphia.

Officials say one person is dead and 23 people have been displaced after a fast-moving fire at a boarding house in North Philadelphia.

"Somebody came down the hallway yelling, 'Fire!'" said resident Jeffrey Meyers.

So Meyers and 22 other residents evacuated the 3-story building the 3000 block of north 22nd Street just before 3:00 a.m. Friday.

But a 51-year old-man on the third floor perished.

Fellow residents say by the time they realized there was a fire it was too late to get him.

They say the victim was disabled and would spend most of his time alone in his room, though fellow residents would check on him.

The fire marshal and inspectors from the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections were on scene investigating Friday morning.

There were mixed reports early on about whether the smoke detectors were working.

The 3-story building is a boarding home run by the Alliance of Youth Mission Ministries, which serves disabled veterans, homeless and mentally challenged people, and youth who are aging out of the foster care system.

Scott Hawes, the president of the organization, was on the scene Friday morning, as were representatives from the Department of Public Welfare.

He said the displaced residents have been relocated to a different boarding home they're affiliated with.

"I will sit down this morning and try to figure this out, and how to accommodate the people we have," said Hawes.

It appears the fire began in the apartment of the man who died.

It's still early in the investigation, but Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said investigators believe the fire began with someone smoking.