West Philly house fire kills 98-year-old woman

Posted: February 18, 2014

A 98-YEAR-OLD woman died yesterday inside her West Philadelphia home when a fire broke out and her family was unable to get in to save her.

Longtime resident Anna Williams was pronounced dead about 5:30 p.m. after firefighters made their way into her rowhouse on Poplar Street near 58th. The fire started in her second-floor bedroom, officials said.

"There was nothing that they could do when they got in," Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said last night after Williams' body had been removed.

Ayers said Williams' son arrived at the house after the fire had started and attempted to rescue her.

"The son went up, tried to get in, he wanted to make a rescue. He was driven back by heat and fire," Ayers said.

Investigators have not yet determined what caused the blaze.

Neighbor Pamela Johnson said Williams, a widow and member of Mount Carmel Baptist Church, was like the mother of the block.

"She took care of everyone," Johnson said. "She's been here for many, many, many years. Ms. Williams was a good, loving, caring person. She was a good Christian woman, a good mother, grandmother and a good friend. She will truly be missed."

American Red Cross workers were on the ice-covered block last night, assisting the Williams family.

It was the second fatal fire in the Philadelphia area over the weekend. On Saturday, an 86-year-old woman died in a blaze in Springfield, Delaware County.

On Twitter: @wbender99

Blog: ph.ly/DailyDelco

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