Fire officials: Cause of Gesner Street blaze 'undetermined'

Posted: August 17, 2014

THE FLAMES of the tragic Gesner Street fire were so hot, they destroyed any evidence indicating what sparked them, the Fire Department announced yesterday.

The fire marshal declared the cause of the fire "undetermined" after investigating the blaze for over a month, Executive Fire Chief Peter Crespo said.

The announcement came just hours before the wake for the inferno's four young victims - twins Maria and Marialla Bowah, 4, Patrick Sanyeah, also 4, and 1-month-old Taj Jacque - held last night at the Divine Mercy Parish, on Grovers Avenue near 72nd Street in Southwest Philadelphia.

A funeral will be held today at the church at 9 a.m. followed by internment at Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Springfield, Delaware County, said Michael Chea, a member of the Liberian Association of Pennsylvania.

Fire Department officials said the blaze that killed the children broke out just before 3 a.m. on July 5. Its ignition point was narrowed down to a couch sitting on the porch of one of the rowhouses on the street, but officials said it's impossible to determine how that couch went up in flames.


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