Six of the victims — three adults, a teen and two children — were found in the townhome’s basement, huddled together, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said.
A 2-year-old boy who was pulled from the burning house by firefighters was later pronounced dead at Children’s Hospital, Ayers said.
The medical examiner identified one adult and three children, and said the children died of smoke inhalation, while the adult died of smoke inhalation and burns. The four were identified as Henry W. Gbokoloi, 54, of Yeadon; 8-year-old Ramere Markese Wright-Dosso, 6-year-old Mariam Iyanya Dosso, and 1-year-old Zyhire Xzavier Wright-Teah, all from the same home on Willows Ave. in Southwest Philadelphia.
A family member holds a 2008 Christmas photo of the three child victims killed in a deadly house fire in Southwest Philadelphia: Zyhire Wright-Teah, 18 months, front left; Ramere Wright-Dosso, 8, back left; and Mariam Dosso, 7, front right.
The other victims still had not been identified.
The neighborhood is home to many of the city’s 15,000 Liberian immigrants. Soon after daybreak, Liberian community members began showing up to learn more about the victims.
Fire marshals have not yet released the cause of the blaze. But one survival said it started after a woman added fuel to a kerosene heater and, when it became too hot, tried to move it outside through the basement’s only door.