Two children were killed and a third seriously injured in a rowhouse fire this morning in the City of Chester, officials said. Five firefighters suffered minor injuries.
The blaze broke out about 6:30 a.m., and when firefighers arrived at the scene near 15th and Washington Streets, "bright orange flames" were coming out of the upstairs windows and the front doors, said Chester Fire Batallion Chief Jack Powers.
The deceased children were found in separate bedrooms on the second floor, and a third child was taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center. The condition of the child was unknown.
Four firefighters were treated at the hospital, and released, and a fifth was treated at the scene.
Powers said the blaze broke out in the rear of the first floor of the two-story house, in the kitchen or dining room, in the well-kept neighborhood in the northern section of the city.
The two-alarm blaze was brought under control in 30 minutes, he said, and no neighbors were evacuated.
The identities of the children were being withheld, pending notificatioin of relatives.
John Dodds, a neighbor who witnessed events, said the home was inhabited by a father and mother and their three children. The family lived at the home for several years. Two young cousins were also spending the night at the couple's tan stucco house, with brick base, porch and green roof that adjoined several other homes.
Dodds said he was reading a book when he heard screaming.
He went outside to see the father and mother with two children frantically trying to get back inside.
Dodds said they were screaming, "My children, my children."
He said fire crews arrived very quickly. As they arrived, Dodds saw another burst of flames shoot from the home.
Eventually, crews recovered two children who were taken away in a coroners van. A third was taken to Crozer Chester Medical Center.
Dodds believed the couple's middle daughter and one of the cousins perished. He believed the child taken to the hospital was a male cousin.
Chester firefighters were still at the scene as of 9:30 a.m. Investigators were taking notes.
“They did everything they could to save peoples’ lives," Dodds said of the fire and rescue crews. -“It’s such a shame, it affects everybody in the neighborhood."
Check back for details as they develop.