4 children dead, homes destroyed in Southwest Philadelphia fire

Four children have died in a fast-moving, three-alarm fire overnight in Southwest Philadelphia.

Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer says fire fighters were called to the 6500 block of Gesner Street at 2:45 a.m. Saturday and found the blaze had already spread.

“Heavy fire, four dwellings,” he says. “The fire extended through the porch roofs. We had a challenging effort in trying to contain the fire so we didn’t lose any more homes.”

A fifth house was also destroyed and three more were damaged before the fire was controlled about 4 a.m. That’s when fire fighters were able to search the houses and found the children.

“This is a tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia,” Sawyer says.

Four others were injured and 42 people were displaced by the blaze.

The commissioner says the fire marshall is investigating how and where the fire started.

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