About Us | Advertise With Us | Contact Us
September 1, 2014, 5:28 pm

Tragic West Philly blaze claims four

A West Philadelphia row house fire has claimed four lives.

The blaze broke out inside the home at 5250 Chancellor Street at about 4:40 a.m. Monday morning and was placed under control at 5:25 a.m.

The fire claimed the lives of two children — 2-year-old Jayden and 4-year-old Cyncere; their mother, 23-year-old Rishya Jenkins, and their grandfather, Seneca McClendon.

The two children were taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where they were pronounced dead. Their grandfather was taken to Misericordia Hospital where he died. The children’s mother was found dead in a rear bedroom.

According to neighbors, the children’s father, Anthony McClendon, tried to get into the house when he came home from work, but he was held back by the flames.

The fire marshal’s office was investigating, and there was no immediate word on the cause of the blaze.

Executive Chief Richard Davison said no smoke detectors were found in the home.

Two nearby homes were evacuated. The American Red Cross is assisting those families.

Red Cross spokesperson Dave Schrader says the agency is partnering with the Fire Department to dissimilate smoke detectors, batteries and fire safety information at 3 p.m. Tuesday throughout the neighborhood where the fire occurred.

“Unfortunately it’s a very common occurrence where often times, there is a fatal fire and there were no smoke detectors. The single most important thing that a family can do is have a working smoke detector,” said Schrader.

Schrader says the Red Cross has initiated conversations with Philadelphia School District officials to take their message of fire safety to schools throughout the city.

On Sunday, a 79-year-old woman and her 4-year-old great-granddaughter were killed in a fire in North Philadelphia. Ardalia Bumpus and her great-granddaughter Nevaeh Bryant were found in an upstairs front bedroom in the 1200 block of West Firth Street. The fire was accidently caused in the kitchen.

According to fire officials, the recent fire brings the number of civilians who have been killed by fires this year to 14.

Earlier this year, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers issued a report which found that 27 of the 32 fire fatalities that occurred in 2011 could have been prevented with working smoke alarms. In 2011, 18 of the fire fatalities occurred in 12 structures that did not have smoke alarms, nor had alarms with dead or missing batteries. Nine citizens died in structures where smoke alarms were present, but were unable to escape.

“A lot of these fire deaths could have possibly been prevented if there were working smoke alarms in the homes,” said Davison.

Monday’s fatal fire comes a week after a warehouse blaze that claimed the lives of two firefighters. Sixty-year-old Lt. Robert Neary and 25-year-old firefighter Daniel Sweeney were killed a week ago in a building collapse at a nearby furniture store where the warehouse fire had spread in the city’s Kensington neighborhood. Two other firefighters were injured. No cause has been determined in that fire.