A blaze that tore through a North Philadelphia rowhouse Saturday, killing a grandmother and two of her grandchildren, remained under investigation Sunday as the fire department’s Community Action Team fanned out across the neighborhood to ensure homes were equipped with smoke alarms.

Identities of the victims, a 60-year-old woman and two children under the age of 10, have not been released by authorities.

Firefighters found their bodies in a cluttered room after battling through the inferno and its heavy smoke. About 40 rescue workers responded to the blaze on the 4200 block of North Reese Street in the city’s Hunting Park section.

“We had to breach the door to get in," said Kathy Matheson, spokesperson for the Philadelphia Fire Department in an interview with the Inquirer and Daily News. After firefighters broke through the doors, she added, “it was very hard to move around, because there were a lot of belongings everywhere.”

Matheson said the house had no smoke detectors.

“The Philadelphia Fire Department will install free smoke alarms for any city residents who request them through 311,” Matheson said. “That includes adaptive alarms for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.”

Investigators work Sunday to determine the cause of a fire that killed a grandmother and her two grandchildren in the 4200 block of North Reese Street in Philadelphia on Saturday.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Investigators work Sunday to determine the cause of a fire that killed a grandmother and her two grandchildren in the 4200 block of North Reese Street in Philadelphia on Saturday.