PHILADELPHIA — Three more bodies, including that of a 3-year-old, were found at the scene of a deadly fire in north Philadelphia earlier in the week, the city’s fire commissioner said.
Commissioner Adam Thiel told reporters Friday night at the scene of Tuesday’s blaze on North 21st Street that the bodies of a 64-year-old man, his 25-year-old daughter and her 3-year-old son were found on the third floor of an illegal rooming house.
Firefighters earlier found a man’s body at the scene of the fire late Tuesday night that also sent two firefighters to the hospital. Thiel said a collapsed floor blocked access to the third-floor room where the bodies were found, and crews were unaware that three other people were in the home.
“Unfortunately, they were not able to see these folks who were located in a small room on the third floor of this illegal boarding house,” he said.
A specialized collapse rescue team recovered the bodies Friday. Officials haven’t released the names of the victims and said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Family members said they spent the past several days calling the department to say three relatives were missing.
“I want to know why they waited all this time to go in there and find my granddaughter on the step with her son,” relative Herman Fripp told WCAU-TV.
The department said in a statement Saturday that the city was looking into how and when the department was notified of other possible victims and whether the building had proper safety systems.
Thiel said it was fortunate the fire didn’t take an even greater toll, but that didn’t take anything away from the tragedy.
“This is the worst thing possible for us,” he said. “Every fire death is tragic. This is worse than that.”