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Tragic Fairmount Fire, One of the Deadliest in Philadelphia’s History, Leaves Many Questions

January 17, 2022

house fire

On January 5, one of the deadliest house fires in Philadelphia and the nation’s history occurred in a rowhouse in Philadelphia’s Fairmount section. The rowhouse fire killed 12 people, nine of which were children. Two residents were also hospitalized.

The home, which was owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), was ravaged by a fire that officials say may have been ignited by a 5-year-old boy who was playing with a lighter near a Christmas tree on the second floor. The home did not have a fire extinguisher, and the two exits from the home were the front and back doors on the first floor. There were no exterior fire escapes and no roof access, although city codes do not require fire escapes for buildings the size of the home where this tragedy occurred. 

The rowhouse, which was split into a duplex of upper and lower units, was occupied by 16 people in the upper unit where the fire broke out. Officials state that 26 people lived in the home. 

An inspection by the PHA in May found all smoke detectors in the upper unit were operational. However, all six smoke detectors were not operational when the fire department went through the unit during their investigation. Four were in drawers and two had batteries removed.

Authorities are still investigating the fire.

When tragedies such as this occur, injured parties need a legal advocate. The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Nerenberg Law Associates, P.C. fight on behalf of those injured by negligent parties. Call 215-569-9100 or complete an online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, the firm serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.