13 killed, including 7 children, in fire at Philadelphia rowhouse, officials say

Flames roared through a Philadelphia rowhouse early Wednesday morning, leaving at least 13 people dead, including seven children, and two in critical condition, authorities said.

Firefighters arrived at the three-story structure in the 800 block of North 23rd Street in the city’s Fairmount neighborhood at about 6:40 a.m. EST, authorities said.

It took about 50 minutes to control the blaze, according to the Philadelphia Fire Department.

There were four smoke alarms in the building and none of them worked, officials said.

A woman reacts at the scene of a deadly rowhouse fire Wednesday in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia.Monica Herndon / The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

It appeared that most of the damage was contained to one building in the densely populated residential neighborhood.

Real estate records indicate the rowhouse was split into five units and owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

Eight people lived on the first floor and 18 people lived on the second and third floors.

“That’s a tremendous amount of people to be living in a duplex,” a fire official told reporters.

The urban block is just a 15-minute walk from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, home of the famed “Rocky” steps, and a little more than one mile south of Temple University.

Wednesday’s tragedy came 13 years and a week after seven people in southwest Philadelphia died in a late December 2008 blaze.

This is a developing story, please refresh here for updates.

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