Two hospitalized after West Philly high-rise fire

The sixth floor of the West Park Apartments is the scene of the fire that killed a 5-year-old and led to evacuation of the 19-story high-rise.
The sixth floor of the West Park Apartments is the scene of the fire that killed a 5-year-old and led to evacuation of the 19-story high-rise. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: October 17, 2012

A 5-YEAR-OLD boy was killed, another child injured and their mother was in critical condition after flames tore through the family's apartment in a West Philadelphia high-rise public-housing building Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said that firefighters were alerted to the blaze at the West Park Apartments, on Busti Street near Holden, by Philadelphia Housing Authority employees at 1:28 p.m. When they arrived minutes later, they reported heavy smoke coming from the 19-story, 180-unit building and called for assistance.

Inside, firefighters found the children's mother, whose sixth-floor apartment was on fire, Ayers said. She and another resident were able to save one child, whose age and sex weren't immediately available. Firefighters found a 5-year-old still alive under a bed in the apartment.

Both children were rushed to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where the 5-year-old was pronounced dead, Ayers said. The other child was in stable condition, and the mother remained in critical condition in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

The mother, officials said, was badly hurt when she went back into the apartment trying to rescue the second child.

The man who helped to get the second child out of the blaze also was hospitalized in stable condition, as was a firefighter.

Ayers said that the fire was under control in 23 minutes. Alarms in the building were working, officials said.

The boy was the 25th person to die in a fire in the city this year, Ayers said, compared to 28 at this time last year.

Other apartments sustained water damage as a result of the fire, Ayers said, but residents of the seventh through 19th floors were allowed back inside by 4 p.m. The cause of the fire remained under investigation Tuesday night.


Contact Phillip Lucas at lucasp@phillynews.com or 215-854-5914. Follow him on Twitter @UnPhiltered. Read his blog at PhillyConfidential.com.

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