By Matt Petrillo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police tell Eyewitness News a row home fire that claimed the lives of two men early Thursday morning has been confirmed to be arson. A homicide investigation is now underway.

A security camera captured the moments crews rushed to the 1400 block of Jerome Street, around 4 a.m., before a horrifying scream.

READ MORE: First Confirmed Cases Of COVID-19 Omicron Variant Reported In Philadelphia, New Jersey

 

Fifty-seven-year-old Josh Chase was one of two men killed during the fire, according to his grieving uncle.

“This is terrible.” Esrick Copeland said.

Josh Chase

57-year-old Josh Chase (Photo courtesy family)

It took crews only 20 minutes to contain the flames, but much of the inside was gutted from that fast-moving fire.

READ MORE: Family Of Fallen Delaware County Firefighter Has Mortgage Fully Paid Off

Authorities have not yet released the cause of the fire or where the flames started.

jerome st fire philadelphia

But Eyewitness News found investigators taking photos inside, and Chase’s uncle says officials told him it was suspicious.

“The police said it looked like someone threw something in the doorway or something like that,” Copeland said. “It’s terrible. Who would do something like that to a human being? You know they were asleep. So they have no way to survive.”

jerome st fire philadelphia

Neighbors remember Chase as friendly and kind-hearted.

“He was a good guy, he fixed my car a couple times. He fixed a lot of people’s cars,” neighbor Brandon Ballard said.

MORE NEWS: Mother Of Ahmir Jones, Teen Killed Protecting Girlfriend During Robbery Near Temple University, Speaks Out

As officials continue to investigate, the second victim’s name has not been released.