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Philadelphia blaze that killed four children may have started outside

Fires
Raging Philadelphia row house fire kills 4 children, all 4 years or younger
'This is a tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia,' says fire chief on blaze that killed 4 children
Outside "rubbish fire" may have spread to rowhouse, sparking fire that killed 4 children

A rubbish fire that started outside may have spread to a series of Philadephia rowhouses early Saturday morning, sparking a fast-moving three-alarm blaze that killed four children, a Fire Department spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.

The fire ripped through a series of Philadelphia homes around 2:45 a.m., killing four young children and injuring five others, said James Griffith, a supervisor with the Philadelphia Fire Department's communications center.

Maria and Mariah Bowah, 4-year-old twin sisters; 4-year-old Patrick Fanyee; and 1-year-old Tai Jacque were all found dead inside the building where the blaze began, Griffith said.

“This is a tragic, tragic day for the city of Philadelphia. Tragic,” Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said, according to the Associated Press. “We lost four children today.”

The cause of the fire remained under investigation, and Griffith did not say how the children were related or if they lived there. 

More than 150 firefighters were called to the scene after the blaze broke out around 2:45 a.m., Griffith said. The fire shot in two directions, traveling through seven other row houses, all of which are connected by their front porches. The initial call to firefighters described the fire as a "rubbish fire."

Firefighters finally brought the blaze under control around 4:15 a.m., Griffith said. Images on Twitter showed the wood-framed buildings completely burned out, with supports turned to a charcoal color and windows completely blown out by flames.

Five other people were taken to area hospitals and treated for smoke inhalation, and eight homes suffered severe fire, water and smoke damage, according to Griffith.

Roughly 45 people were displaced by the blaze. 

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for breaking news

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

1:55 p.m.: This post updated with the identities of the victims and new information about how the fire spread.

This post was first published at 11:48 a.m.

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