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4 children die in three-alarm Philadelphia row house fire

By Joe Sutton and Carma Hassan, CNN
updated 3:47 PM EDT, Sat July 5, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Five people from one home taken to hospital
  • Four children were killed in the blaze
  • The fire swept through a line of eight row houses
  • Over 40 people are now displaced

(CNN) -- Four children died and dozens of residents were displaced when a fire swept through eight row houses in Philadelphia early Saturday, authorities said.

"This is a tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia. Tragic. We lost four children today. And I want everybody to understand that fire is everyone's fight. Not just the fire department. It's everyone's fight," Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said.

The four children were found dead in the same home where the fire started, according to Sawyer.

People tried to rescue the children, CNN affiliate WPVI reported.

The victims were a 1-month-old baby boy, 4-year-old twin girls and a 4-year-old boy, according to WPVI. Two 11-year-old girls suffered smoke inhalation, the report said.

PHILADELPHIA fire
PHILADELPHIA fire

Sawyer told CNN that the victims have not been identified and that he does not know their ages.

Authorities believe the fire started on the porch in a couch, according to their preliminary investigation.

Philadelphia fire kills 4 children

At least 10 people were at the home at the time of the fire, and not all of them were residents, according to Sawyer. A family member was babysitting the children.

Sawyer said that five people from the same home were transported to the hospital, at least two of them minors under the age of 13.

The three-alarm fire was reported at 2:46 a.m. in the southwest part of the city, the fire department said.

Heavy fire in three homes spread to five more homes via wooden porch roofs, Sawyer said.

At least 42 people were displaced and a shelter had been set up for people at Bertram High School, according to Sawyer.

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CNN's Joshua Berlinger contributed to this report.

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