By Jericka Duncan and Diana Rocco
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dousing out smoldering rubble and removing charred debris is what officials say must happen first, before they determine what caused Monday’s five alarm fire in Kensington, that claimed the lives of firefighter Dan Sweeney and Lt. Robert Neary.
“It’s like a warzone, you could feel the heat as soon as you come out the house,” said Tim Toman of Kensington.
31-year-old Toman lives at the corner of E. York and Jasper Street, right next to the old factory that went up in flames. He was among the 30 people on the adjacent street who were forced to evacuate.
Embers from the fire melted the back of his and his neighbors’ homes.
For now, Tim is staying out of his muddy basement. It’s still wet from water used to control the fire.
Meanwhile, a memorial outside Engine 7 Ladder 10 only continues to grow.
Candles burn for two of Philadelphia’s bravest, as members of a grateful city and Kensington neighborhood leave their prayers.
“God watch over them. We’re all family here it’s terrible,” said Anne Marie Ruggiero, a friend of Sweeney.
Ruggiero met Sweeney a few times, she says he was always smiling and full of life. She stopped by the wall to leave a card, along with countless others.
In a private and quiet moment, the Commissioner and several firefighters met with Neary’s wife and the Sweeney family at the fire house they once called home.
There were no public words, only hugs and solemn exchanges.
Chief Patrick Roberts of the Warminster Volunteer Ambulance Corp says “we ask that everyone keep then in their prayers.”
In Bucks County, the Warminster Volunteer EMS workers are mourning their co-worker. Fire fighter Dan Sweeney spent time volunteering with the ambulance corps when he wasn’t at the firehouse, for them the loss of 25-year-old Sweeney has been hard to bare.
“Everyone here loved him, working with him he loved being a paramedic and fireman.”
Licenses and Inspections, Crime Unit investigators, ATF officials and firefighters remain on the scene, searching for any clues that will lead to a cause.