A 5-year-old boy, who was playing with a lighter and set fire to a Christmas tree, may have sparked a fire that killed 12 people in a Philadelphia home, officials said on Thursday.
The revelation was included in a search warrant as city investigators and organizers sought to determine the cause of the fire that had killed more people in the city for more than a century, killing two sisters, several of their children, and others early Wednesday.
Jane Roh, the spokeswoman for regional attorney Larry Krasner, confirmed the contents of the search warrant, first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Fire officials gave a few details at the afternoon news conference, declining to say how many people escaped the fire or speculating on the possible cause, adding that the scene of the fire was complex.
Officials also did not say where the fire started, calling it part of the investigation.
“I know I hope we will be able to provide a specific source and cause of this fire and provide answers to loved ones and, indeed, the city,” said Matthew Varisco, who heads the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Bureau.
Alcohol, Tobacco, Guns, and Explosives. ATF experts and other investigators took photographs and assembled a burnt-out three-story duplex of bricks.
The building is owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the city’s public housing center, and the country’s largest landowner.
Fourteen people have been authorized to live in a four-room apartment “disaster-stricken,” according to Kelvin Jeremiah, president, and CEO of housing authorities, while six people are employed in the lower division.
When the family rented in 2011, there were six people – a grandmother, her three daughters, and their two children, Jeremiah said.
He said the family has grown over the next ten years to add eight more children.
Firefighters are considering the response to the deadly Fairmount fire.