Residents of a Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood are left to grieve the loss of four children killed in an early-moring fire that raged through a block of row houses on Saturday.
The neighbors stood outside crying, praying and hugging as they came to grips with the fact that the children would no longer be running around the neighborhood.
When firefighters arrived around 2:45 a.m., four homes were already ablaze, said Derrick Sawyer, the city's fire commissioner. The fire quickly spread to eight homes before firefighters could bring the fire under control about 90 minutes later.
The four children were in one home and were likely relatives, Sawyer said. They were identified as 4-year-old twins Marie and Mariah Bowah; 4-year-old Patrick Sanyee; and an infant, Taj Jacque, who was only 47 days old. Five other relatives in the home were taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The children were the only fatalities in the fire.
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Battalion Chief Michael Bonner said the mother of the twins, Dwen Bowah, was able to save three of her children but was unable to save the other four children. The mother of the two boys was not in the house at the time of the fire.
"This is a tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia. Tragic," said Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer.
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Mayor Michael Nutter said the entire city was grieving and praying for the victims.
"We lost four precious lives, four little, innocent children, in a horrific tragedy on this street," said Nutter.
Red Cross officials said dozens of neighbors were displaced by the fire.
The fire marshal's office was investigating the cause of the fire.
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