Local leaders and First lady Jill Biden are expressing their condolences and mourning the loss of 13 people killed in a Philadelphia house fire on Wednesday, calling the tragedy "heartbreaking."
State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta said the incident weighs heavy, but he is keeping hope for those still in the hospital.
"I’m having a hard time finding the words to express my deep sorrow for the heartbreaking loss of 13 lives, including 7 kids, in this morning’s fire in Fairmount," Kenyatta said on Twitter. "This weighs heavy as we mourn those lost and keep hope for those being treated in the hospital."
City Council President Darrell Clarke praised the work of the Philadelphia Fire Department in a statement, pledging support to both first responders and the families as the community starts to recover.
"We thank them for their bravery and recognize the pain that they are feeling today," Clarke said.
"We send our prayers to the family members, friends and neighbors of the six adults and seven children who died this morning’s fire," the statement added.
Kelvin Jeremiah, the president and CEO of the Philadelphia Housing Authorities said, "The unimaginable loss of life has shaken all of us at PHA. It is too early for us to say more."
Jeremiah reiterated in the statement posted on Twitter that all of the smoke detectors were working properly when the house was inspected in May 2021.
Previously, Dinesh Indala, senior executive vice president of operations for the PHA, said officials determined six smoke detectors and three carbon monoxide detectors were functional during that inspection. Earlier today, fire officials said smoke detectors in the building did not operate during today's fire.
"Our primary goal is to support our residents in any way we can," Jeremiah said.
Right now, the cause of the fire is "not necessarily considered suspicious," according to Philadelphia Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy, but it is under investigation by the Philadelphia Fire Marshal's office because of the magnitude of the blaze.
The Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said his office remains “prepared to work with our partner agencies in the event that any criminal act is involved.”
First lady Jill Biden also tweeted her sympathy, saying, "My heart is with the families and loved ones of the victims of the tragic fire in Philadelphia."