Local/State

Elderly couple perishes in Kingsessing fire

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Investigators say a faulty space heater may have caused a fire that claimed the lives of two elderly people in Kingsessing.

The couple was killed in an overnight fire.

Sharon Daley knew when she reached the 1000 block of South Frazier Street that her mother and step-father were gone.

"Everybody started screaming telling me not to come down the street. I didn't want to hear it, if they were doing that I knew what happened," she said.

Officials say the fire broke out just after 10:00 p.m. Friday.

Firefighters responded quickly but, 73-year-old Joyce Ruffin Richards and her husband Frank Richards did not make it out alive.

"By the time I got here, the whole house was just done, they didn't have a chance to get out," said Daley.

"I just saw the whole place in an inferno," said Dominic Williams.

Neighbors described a quick moving blaze.

Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control within 30 minutes. They found the couple upstairs.

"Upon search of the second floor, we found two elderly residents in the second floor bathroom," said Captain Clifford Gilliam.

"They found them in the bathroom I guess they were trying to hide in the bathtub," said Daley.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Investigators say there was no heat in the house and the couple was using space heaters to keep warm.

There were no other injured in the blaze, but the homes on either side were badly damaged; at least one of them is a total loss.

The Red Cross tells Action News they are assisting two families, a total of 7 people, from neighborhing homes damaged by the fire.

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Tags:
philadelphia news, fire, kingsessing, southwest philadelphia news, local/state
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