Firefighters rescue occupants of burning home in Port Richmond section of Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Firefighters rescued several occupants of a burning home in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia Friday morning.

The fire broke out at 6:45 a.m. at a home in the 2500 block of East Lehigh Avenue.

Crews arrived to find several people trapped on the third floor.

Witnesses described the brave rescue firefighters made as flames ripped through the home.

"We saw the firefighters carrying three people down the ladder," Terri Keck of Pottstown, Pa. told Action News.

Keck took dramatic pictures of one firefighter with an occupant on his back while he carefully climbed down a ladder.

"The ones that were on the ground were running, hooking all the hoses," said Kate Ralston. "They were fantastic. They never stopped."

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House fire in Port Richmond: Matt O'Donnell reports during Action News Mornings on June 8, 2018.

Officials say there were four occupants. At least one pet was rescued, and a dog died in the fire.

"The owner of the building - he was already out of the building, but then he went back in," said Keck.

Witnesses say the flames started on the second floor at the back of the three-story home and quickly made their way up to the third floor.

"Upon arrival, our companies encountered heavy fire," said Deputy Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Gary Loesch. "We go into an aggressive interior search."

In all, 80 firefighters responded. Paramedics were also on scene.

They performed CPR on the homeowner and resuscitated him before rushing him to an area hospital.

"They laid him on the ground," said Keck. "They were doing CPR at that point. He kind of went out of sight. They put him in an ambulance and took him away."

All of the occupants are expected to be okay.

"You don't realize how valuable your life is until you see something like this and how fast something can happen," said Ralston.

Family members tell Action News that the homeowner ran back inside of the burning building to get his wifes ashes. She died less than a year ago.

He suffered minor burns but is expected to be okay.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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