By Al Novack And Mike Dougherty
PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – Authorities say an early morning row house fire in north Philadelphia claimed the lives of an elderly woman and a young child.
Officials say the blaze on West Firth Street was reported at 12:35 a.m. Sunday.
Arriving fire units reported heavy flames and officials the location of the home on a partial dead end hampered their efforts to battle the blaze.
The fire was brought under control just before 1:30 a.m. Sunday.
Authorities say the bodies of the 79-year-old woman and the 4-year-old child were found in a second-floor bedroom.
Two other adults and a toddler managed to escape, and the child was taken to a hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.
Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says the cause remains under investigation but the blaze is believed to have been accidental and likely started in the kitchen.
Neighbors say they lost a great woman and friend. Ardalia Bumpus has been a fixture in the 1200 block of West Firth Street for decades.
“Everybody is sad and devastated.”
Her neighbor Jeanette Addo says Mrs. Bumpus was always there, no matter what.
“Whatever you wanted, she would always help — anybody who needed help.”
Also killed in the fire was a young girl, one of Mrs. Bumpus’ granddaughters.
Renee lives down the street and says this is a tragedy that could have been avoided.
“The fire hydrants are locked down. There’s no way for them to get water, enough water.”
Renee says grief is widespread on the block.
“She was everybody’s grandmom.”
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