By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Tragedy struck in Grays Ferry just days before Thanksgiving after a fire in a row home left two young children dead and an infant fighting for their life. The children who died were 3 and 10 years old, and authorities say a 9-month-old baby is in critical condition.

Firefighters were called to South 30th and Dickinson Streets around 1:15 a.m. Saturday. Video from the Citizens app shows the early-morning fire ripping through the two-story row home.

Naukel Barnes lives across the street from where the fire happened. She says she helped pull the mother of the children to safety.

“My son had the mother in his arms, literally carrying her across the street to his house, sat her on the step next to me,” Barnes said, “and then he went to see if he could go through the back and was like I’m going through the back and I ran with him and that’s when the flames just shot up and there was no way for us to get inside at all.”

Fire officials say the 3-year-old boy died at the house and the 10-year-old girl was rushed to the hospital where she later died.

Two other people had to be rescued from the fire and three others jumped out of second-floor windows to escape the flames.

“She just kept saying my kids are in there,” Barnes said. “It was sad because you can’t do anything. You’re thinking let me get the fire extinguisher, let me do something. It’s just hard because you can’t do anything.”

A neighbor told Eyewitness News that during this COVID crisis, this entire block has become like a family — including teaching one of those children to ride their bike during this time.

“I was hurt. I was hurt,” Russell Bennett, a family friend, said. “When I heard that, I was in a good sleep, but I had to get up.”

Bennett is a family friend and came to the scene to help drive displaced neighbors to a nearby hotel. He says his grandchildren are friends with the children who were killed.

A 9-month-old was rushed to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and is listed in critical condition. Meanwhile, three adults were taken to Penn Presbyterian Hospital.

One of the adults is listed in critical condition while the other two are listed in stable condition.

The Red Cross says it is helping a family of eight who had to be displaced due to the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

CBS3’s Howard Monroe and Dan Koob contributed to this report.


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