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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Fire officials confirm one person has died in a house fire in the Northwood section of Frankford. The fire also sent an elderly man and a firefighter to the hospital.
The fire started just after 2 a.m. Monday at a home on the 900 block of Foulkrod Street. When firefighters arrived, they saw heavy fire and smoke coming from the back of the home’s second floor. The fire had also spread to the twin home next door.
Crews knocked down the bulk of the fire in about 20 minutes and were able to rescue a 79-year-old man from the home. Paramedics rushed him to Temple Hospital with serious burn injuries. Firefighters also found a 58-year-old man dead inside the home.
“It’s completely zero visibility, we don’t know who’s inside the home, we don’t know what the floor plan looks like, so we’re sort of always playing an away game,” said Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.
“We’re happy we were able to make that rescue, we’re hopeful, again, it’s hard to know, there are some serious injuries on the occupant that we rescued. It’s unfortunate that we were just weren’t able to do that with the second occupant,” he added.
Eric Olsen, the victim’s brother, says the family is in shock.
“I’m numb. Everything happened at once, but we’re pulling together as a family. We’re strong and we’ll get through it, just pick up the pieces and we’ll move on,” said Olsen. “It looks like my father is stable at Temple, so it looks like he’s gonna be OK.”
Neighbors are stunned.
“I saw flames shooting out the side of the building, and then a minute or two later, the firefighters arrived and they were banging on the door,” said neighbor Alex Rivera. “It took them a couple of minutes to even get the door down to get in. And then about 5 minutes after that they pulled a man out, who’s actually my neighbor Carl.”
“He’s a nice gentleman,” next-door neighbor Chuyin Robson, said of Carl. “He very nice because, so we help each other. And when I just moved here, he always come to help me shovel snow.”
A firefighter was also transported after being hurt by debris. He is expected to be OK. Commissioner Thiel said the house did have working smoke detectors that were going off when firefighters arrived, but the two men just weren’t able to get out on their own.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.