3 killed, 1 injured in 2 Philadelphia fires

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Two fires in Philadelphia left three people dead and one hospitalized.

A man and a woman were killed in a house fire that started around 11:25 p.m. Friday in South Philadelphia.

"I assumed they weren't inside because I hadn't seen them all day," said neighbor John McCool.

But McCool woke to the news his neighbor's bodies had been found inside a burned-out, third-floor bedroom on the 1700 block of Morris Street.

"All I saw was at the top window there was some smoke coming out of the top window, but it was very dark, very black," said McCool, neighbor.

Firefighters put out the fire in 17 minutes, but weren't able to save a man in his 70s and a woman in her 60s.

"It's sad. They were good neighbors," said Howard Richmond.

Richmond said he saw the pair two hours earlier when they borrowed his phone to order food. He says utilities had been cut off to the home so he and other neighbors cooked meals for them.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer told Action News the home had six smoke detectors, but not one had a working battery.

"If they had working smoke alarms, they probably would've got out and be with us today," said Sawyer.

Hours later, there was another fire fatality in the first-floor apartment of a home on the 4700 block of Hazle Avenue in West Philadelphia.

Eight people escaped, but one man didn't make it out. One of those people were taken to Jefferson University Hospital for unknown injuries.

"It appears at this time that this victim was trying to fight the fire," said Sawyer.

Commissioner Sawyer says this death, too, could have been prevented.

"The main message here is if there's a fire, get out, stay out," said Sawyer. "Don't fight fire."

Back in South Philly, McCool says his neighbors boarded-up home now serves as a lesson for us all.

"Check your own safety. Make sure all your fire alarms are up to date, and have their batteries in them," said McCool. "And don't allow something like that to happen to yourself."

If you cant afford a smoke detector, Commissioner Sawyer says you can get one for free by calling 311.

The cause of both blazes is under investigation.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.