2 teens, mother killed in Tacony fire
TACONY - January 10, 2012 (WPVI) -- Investigators still don't know what sparked a fast-moving apartment fire that killed a 13-year-old boy, a 19-year-old girl, and their 43-year-old mother in Philadelphia.
Philip Searle rushed to his mother's apartment in the 6800 block of Torresdale Avenue in Tacony Tuesday morning after he saw firefighters on the scene while watching the news.
He soon learned that the blaze had claimed the lives of his 13-year-old brother, Anthony Ramos, and his 19-year-old sister, Krystal Borretto.
Their mother, Gloria Searle, had no vital signs when firefighters first rescued her. She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead Tuesday night.
The blaze broke out around 4:45 Tuesday morning. At first, firefighters were told that the building was empty. Then a couple minutes later they learned the family was trapped inside.
With only one entryway into the upstairs apartment, firefighters had a difficult time getting inside and extinguishing the flames. Speaking at the scene, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said firefighters had to force their way through covered doors and windows."There was plywood, cement, things like that," said Ayers. "They had to breach all those openings just to get lines into service."
The two teens were pronounced dead at the scene.13-year-old Anthony attended Diston Elementary School. His principal said this was the first day of school the well-liked student had missed this year. "Anthony was a wonderful student," said Daniel Tahaney. "He's been here for many years. His teachers loved having him as a student. They are saddened by his loss." "Krystal was just a little glitter bug, a cute little thing," said family friend Angie Brown. "She graduated from Lincoln, was looking forward to the future." Neighbor Catherine Hawryluk told Action News, "Just yesterday they were out front. [Anthony] was teaching my son how to ride his skateboard. They were good kids. They didn't deserve that." The Fresh and Sharp Unisex Salon is located on the first floor of the building. The owner said he is praying for the victims and their family. "The shop is material," said Norm Whitest. "It's the lives that were lost. It's hurting me and my wife. We're just blown away."
Action News is told that two family dogs also perished in the fire. One firefighter was taken to the hospital with very minor injuries.
fire, tacony, philadelphia, pennsylvania, local/state
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