Elderly man dies in house fire in Grays Ferry

GRAYS FERRY (WPVI) -- A man in his 90s became trapped and died in a house fire in Philadelphia's Grays Ferry neighborhood.

The fast-moving fire started before 2 a.m. Thursday on the 1700 block of South Taylor Street.

Fire crews arrived to heavy smoke showing on the first and second floors of the middle of a row house.

Neighbors told crews the victim was a World War II veteran.

The victim was trapped in a second floor bedroom. Firefighters made numerous efforts to rescue him, but unfortunately the man died in the blaze.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner, Adam Thiel said, "Despite their Herculean efforts, it appears this is going to be a tragic outcome."

Resident Ruth Cottrell said, "I saw the flames, I started screaming, and I grabbed the phone and dialed 911."

Dorsea Jamison lived next door, and woke up just in time, and rushed to get four children out of her home.

"I heard some noise knocking, like tapping, banging, and I opened my window and all the smoke came rushing in, and I just rushed everybody out of the house," she said.

Kelis Jamison added, "I heard my mom screaming, get out of the house. I smelled smoke in the house."

The fire was placed under control in less than a half hour.

Residents in both adjoining homes were displaced.

The Red Cross is assisting those residents.

Firefighters removed a charred wheelchair from inside the home. According to neighbors, the victim was missing a leg and relied on a walker and a wheelchair.

The elderly war veteran lived in the home for more than thirty years.

The fire marshal is working to determine the cause of the blaze.

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