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Controversy Persists Over Fire Dept. Response to Fatal SW Phila. Fire

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Grief and anger continue to brew in Southwest Philadelphia, just one day after an emotion-filled protest (see related story) over the city’s response to a fire that claimed the lives four young children (another related story).

Confusion and disagreement over what happened that night continues to percolate throughout the 6500 block of Gesner Street.

Some neighbors are wondering how four children on that close-knit block could have died in a fire with a fire station just a few hundred feet away.

“We hung up, called again, and kept calling back — they never came.”

Dahron Drummond says he and his cousin called 911 four times before firefighters showed up. “They got out the car, stood there for about 15 minutes looking at the fire. They didn’t knock on anybody’s door,” he told KYW Newsradio today.

Mamasa Sherif and Peter Alpha live just two doors down from the burned-out homes on Gesner Street.  Alpha says fire officials did all they could, but his wife thinks they took far too long.

Rev. John Jallah says leaders in Philadelphia’s Liberian community hope the disagreement doesn’t cause more tension between the city and residents.

“Our concentration now is how the four precious children can be buried,” he said.

Jallah and other leaders are calling for calm and patience as fire officials and police complete their investigation (see related story).

North Philadelphia native rapper Meek Mill, also visited the scene. He says “I will offer the most help that I can.”

(credit: Steve Patterson)

(credit: Steve Patterson)

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