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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Interview with Bill Brightcliff

Aired January 15, 2003 - 10:51   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have Fire Chief Bill Brightcliff on the phone with us -- chief, are you there?
BILL BRIGHTCLIFF, PHILADELPHIA FIRE CHIEF: Yes, I am.

KAGAN: Can you tell us exactly what is taking place in your city, please?

BRIGHTCLIFF: At 10:02 a.m., the Philadelphia Police Department requested the Philadelphia Fire Department to respond to 604 South Washington Square. That's the Hopkinson (ph) House located at Sixth and Spruce. They had a police situation with a male occupant of the building. At that time, a fire was set in an apartment on the 25th floor of the building. Then shortly after, a fire was reported on the 24th floor of the building in a separate apartment. A second alarm was sounded at 10:33 a.m. and the firefighters are still there, fighting the fire and evacuating the fire building.

KAGAN: Is it contained, chief, just to the two units?

BRIGHTCLIFF: Hold on a second, please.

KAGAN: Right. Well...

BRIGHTCLIFF: Can you repeat that?

KAGAN: A question for you, chief. Is the fire contained just to the two units?

BRIGHTCLIFF: As far as we have so far, that's what they're doing.

KAGAN: Also, we were seeing some disturbing reports on the wires, chief, that a man who was in the unit where the fire first started came out on to the balcony and perhaps panicked and jumped over the side. Do you know anything about that?

BRIGHTCLIFF: I can't confirm the reason he jumped, but we do have preliminary information that an individual did jump from the 24th level, 24th floor level.

KAGAN: Is that the only information you have about any casualties at this time?

BRIGHTCLIFF: That's correct, and the fire has not been placed under control at this time.

KAGAN: It has not. OK. Want to jump in, Leon?

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: No. I just -- I have the report from the Associated Press wires, there is a report that there was an argument in this unit between a man and woman, and shortly after the argument started, the fire started in that unit. That's what the Associated Press wires are reporting.

KAGAN: I guess, chief, is it too early to know what caused the fire?

BRIGHTCLIFF: We don't have that at this time. The fire will be investigated by our Fire Marshal's Office as soon as it is extinguished.

KAGAN: All right, well we will let you go go, and pay attention to that. We appreciate the latest information. Once again, this high-rise fire in the middle of Philadelphia. Fire Chief Bill Brightcliff.

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