Fire commish: Portable heater caused blaze that killed 2

A portable heater, possibly powered by an illegal electrical hookup, caused a fire Monday that killed two men in Philadelphia's Kensington section, said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

Ayers said that the Fire Marshal's office determined the cause of 9:51 a.m. fire in the two-story house on the 3000 block of Joyce Street to be the heater, and that there were no working smoke detectors.

PECO also confirmed evidence of illegal electric meter tampering.

The fire was declared under control at 10:16 a.m. Monday, but left two men dead.  One was a 78-year-old male, who collapsed in the living room near the front door in an apparent attempt to escae. He was taken to taken to Temple University Hospital with severe burns and smoke inhalation.

The second victim was a younger male. He was found on the second floor in the front bedroom, Ayers said.

Firefighters found space heaters and tangled electrical cords in the living room, where the fire apparently started.