Officials investigate Philadelphia rowhome fire as arson; 3 people rescued

Katherine Scott Image
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
3 rescued from burning rowhome in Philadelphia
Three people were rescued Wednesday morning from a fire in Philadelphia's Bridesburg section.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Firefighters rescued three people from a home after an early morning fire on Wednesday in Philadelphia.

Amera Hamilton, 13, and her brother, 10-year-old Brian Harris Jr., were injured in the blaze, as was their 56-year-old grandmother, Maureen Davis.

The fire broke out around 2 a.m. in a rowhome on Kennedy Street and quickly spread to the home next door. Officials said they are now investigating the fire as an arson.

The children's mother, Karrine Mahaffey, said she was not home at the time because she was at the police station filing a complaint against an abusive ex-boyfriend who had threatened her about an hour before the fire ignited.

"I was at the police district making another police report on my ex who has been stalking and harassing me," Mahaffey said. "Domestic violence is a real thing."

Mahaffey said she has repeatedly reported her ex-boyfriend to law enforcement in Philadelphia and Bucks County.

"We've been calling. Me, my friend, my aunt Cathy. Everybody has been calling," Mahaffey said. "I almost lost my kids."

Mahaffey went to see her son and daughter at the hospital.

"(My daughter) is on a breathing machine. They had to give her steroids to help her breathe," Mahaffey said.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they saw two children waving from a second-floor window.

"Their arms were hanging out the window and they were waving to the firefighters," according to Fire Deputy Chief Vincent Mulray.

Firefighters took both children down by using a ladder.

As they searched the home, they found Davis on the second floor and rushed her outside.

"The one grandson came out, they had him on a stretcher giving him oxygen. Then they took the grandmother out," said neighbor Pat Doyle.

Davis was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Police said the children were listed in stable condition.

Another neighbor, who is a family member, tried to go in and help. She received minor injuries and refused medical treatment.

Three neighbors in the row home next door were also displaced. The Red Cross has been notified.

"I could have lost everybody that meant something to me," said Mahaffey.

So far, no arrests have been made.