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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A 36-year-old woman and her 3-year-old son were killed in a house fire in South Philadelphia. Four others were hurt escaping the flames.
The victims have been identified as 36-year-old MiMi Duong and her 3-year-old son Andrew.
“They died in their sleep. My mom said they went peacefully,” said cousin Dani Son.
The fire started in a row home on the 2600 block of South 3rd Street, just after 2 a.m.
“This was an aggressive interior attack, and a search for life,” said Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel. “We did have reports that there were trapped occupants from the very beginning.”
Six family members total were in the house at the time of the fire, including Andrew’s grandparents, father, and aunt. Three of the four leaped out of windows to escape the flames. All were transported to area hospitals.
“I saw the mother and father on the cement. Apparently, they jumped from the second story to get out and so it was just a horrible scene,” said neighbor Jim McGourn.
Firefighters doing a sweep of the home discovered Duong and her son inside. Both did not make it.
“Despite the incredible work of our members this morning, we’re not happy with the outcome,” Thiel said. “We’re in this to save lives, sometimes, however, the deck is stacked against us so high, we just, despite the great efforts of our members, we can’t get the outcome that we wanted.”
Duong recently moved to the United States from Vietnam.
“All she does is go to work and come home, takes care of her son,” said Son.
Relatives say the fire started in the basement when Andrew’s father used gasoline or kerosene to try to heat the home.
The Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.
Thiel said that so far in 2019, upwards of seven people have died in fires in the city, compared to 19 for the entire year of 2018.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family during this difficult time.