By Al Novack and Jericka Duncan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fire officials say one person was killed in a house fire in West Philadelphia early Wednesday morning.

The one alarm fire was reported at 2:15 a.m. inside a home in the 4900 block of Brown Street. The fire was placed under control in approximately an hour.

An elderly man, Ezekiel Hymphreys, who had been reported missing was later found dead during a secondary search inside the home where the fire began.

“We didn’t find any smoke alarms in that location,” said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

Commissioner Ayers says a working smoke detector could have saved the 90-year-old.

A new city law now requires every home built before 1988, to have a 10 year, non-removable lithium battery smoke alarm, on each level of the home, including the basement. The fire department gave away and installed the required smoke detectors on the block where the latest fatal fire occurred.

The required alarms are at hardware stores for about $20. If you can’t afford the costs, Commissioner Ayers says you should call your local fire department, because if you don’t have one, and officials find out, you could be fined up to $100 according to Ayers.

Last year the fire department officials say they installed more than 18,000 lithium battery smoke alarms.

Wednesday’s fire damaged several neighboring homes. The Red Cross is on the scene helping at least 10 residents who were evacuated and left homeless.

An investigation is underway to determine a cause.

For more information on fire prevention go to

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