By Jenn Bernstein

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia firefighters went door to door on the 6300 block of Beechwood Street in Germantown handing out and helping install smoke alarms.

“Just hearing the story about how they grew up together, knew each other for 40 or 50 years, for them to lose their neighbors like that is a really sad thing,” said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

This block was shaken at Wednesday’s early morning fire that left an elderly man and woman dead.

“I heard a pop so I looked out the window and the whole upstairs was a blaze,” said neighbor Joyce Brown.

Fire officials say there were smoke alarms but they were not working.

On the 3400 block of Joyce Street in Port Richmond, fire officials canvassed another neighborhood Wednesday that saw a deadly fire two days before. One man was killed in that fire, another was sent to the hospital critically burned. He later died.

Fire officials confirmed Wednesday it was started by a space heater. There were also no working smoke alarms in that home.

This week’s fire deaths raise the number to 23 for this year.

“It’s only going to get colder we want people safe when they go inside,” said Commissioner Ayers.

Firefighters are reminding folks as we head into winter season to be wary of portable heaters, don’t overload your outlets and install, or check smoke alarms.

“We want to prevent the fire before it starts, that’s the new firefighter today,” said the Commissioner.

Fire commissioner Ayers wants residents to stay safe and suggests following these tips:


  • Do you always turn off portable heaters when you go to bed?
  • Do you always refill the fuel tank of your portable heaters outdoors?
  • Do you make sure that every portable heater is a safe distance away from curtains, bedding & furniture?
  • Are your kitchen stove, oven & boiler kept clean of grease?
  • Are curtains near kitchen ranges and heating equipment arranged so that curtains do not blow over or near the stove?
  • Do you leave food on the stove unattended?
  • Do you turn pot handles inward from the edge of the stove?


  • Are there enough electrical outlets in each room?
  • Do you avoid placing multiple attachment plugs & long extension cords in electrical outlets?
  • Do you frequently check extension cords & appliance cords for wear?
  • Do you avoid draping extension cords & wire over pipes or nails?

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