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Father, Kids Escape Strawberry Mansion Apartment Fire By Jumping

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By Jenn Bernstein

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A store and an above apartment on West Sergeant Street in Strawberry Mansion are a total loss after a fast moving early Thursday morning fire.

Firefighters battled heavy smoke and flames, which they believe started on the lower floor.

One room above, the store owner, a father and his two children slept as the rooms below turned into a death trap.

Eddis Manzanillo woke up to a smoke alarm and then had only seconds to figure out how to save his 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, since the smoke was too heavy to exit downstairs.

A firefighter on scene translated as Manzanillo walked us through what happened in Spanish.

The firefighter says, “He makes his way to the back window, the kid’s room, takes the window out and lowers the kids one at a time, drops them down, and then he jumps out himself.”

Manzanillo then ran to a firehouse nearby, to alert firefighters.

While the building is now destroyed, no one was injured, including responding firefighters.

The father is now hailed a hero for his quick thinking, which allowed his children and himself to walk away with their lives.

“We can always replace the property, but you can’t replace the occupants or us,” said Fire Lieutenant Stephen Paslawski. “It could have been a very different story.”

The two children were transported to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children as a precaution, but they are expected to be fine.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.