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July 29, 2014, 10:48 am

Kensington fire investigated

The investigation into what caused a horrific 5-alarm fire last week that left two firefighters dead continues with a grand jury empaneled to look into the blaze.

Two firefighters were killed last week and two others seriously injured while fighting to control a massive five-alarm inferno in the Kensington section area of the city.

The firemen died when the ceiling and a wall collapsed inside a furniture store that was burning at Boston Street and Kensington Avenue. They have been identified as Lt. Robert Neary, 60, and firefighter Daniel Sweeney, 25. Both men were attached to Ladder 10 of the Philadelphia Fire Department.

According to Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, the fire started inside a warehouse at East York and Jasper streets at 3:13 a.m. Because of the high winds and dry conditions, the blaze quickly escalated to a 5-alarm inferno that spread to six houses and the Giamari Furniture Store. The fire was declared under control around 5:15 a.m.

“The investigation into the April 9, 2012, fatal fire at the Thomas W. Buck Hosiery building in the Kensington section of the city is being submitted to the Philadelphia County Investigating Grand Jury,” said Tasha Jamerson, spokesperson for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in a press release. “Philadelphia Fire Lt. Robert Neary and firefighter Daniel Sweeney were both killed while fighting the blaze. This will be the only public statement on this case now that a grand jury investigation is underway; legally the District Attorney’s Office cannot comment any further.”

In an unrelated criminal investigation, Philadelphia police are looking for a suspect in an afternoon shooting in South Philadelphia that left two men wounded, one of them critically.

The shooting happened on Wednesday, April 18 in the 700 block of South Juniper Street around 1:45 p.m. Investigators have not released the names of the victims as of Tribune press time. Responding officers found the victims in the 1300 block of Bainbridge Street; one man had been shot in the back, the other was struck in the foot. Both were rushed to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

The exact cause of the shooting is under investigation, and so far no arrests have been made.