NBC10.com - Monique Braxton
Police are investigating a suspicious fire that forced nearly two dozen people out of their homes overnight. Now neighbors suspect that one local resident was behind the blaze. NBC10's Monique Braxton has the details.
Officials are investigating a suspicious fire that forced nearly two dozen people out of their homes overnight in the Port Richmond section of the city.
The screams of neighbors brought people out of their homes.
"All I heard her say was 'Oh my God!'", said James McClendon, who heard a woman who lives in one of the burning homes yelling. "So I flew to the door and the next thing I know is, flames erupted everywhere. It was very intense."
Investigators are not sure at this point how the fire started, but it spread quickly, causing severe damage to four homes on the 2800 block of Memphis Street, and some damage to a 5th.
"A lot of people didn't know it was going to spread as fast as it did," said Shirah Gist who lives across the street. "It went from something real small to something real big."
Twenty people were able to escape their homes without injury.
There is a lot of damage, however.
"We did have some collapse from the porch fronts," said Philadelphia firefighter Anthony Sneidar, Jr.
The Red Cross is assisting five families and a total of 20 people who were affected by the blaze.
Officials say the fire is "suspicious" and continue to investigate. Residents suspect a man who lives on the street was somehow involved. According to neighbors, the unidentified man was released from jail several days ago and has been involved in several incidents. Police have not made any arrests or released information on any suspects thus far however.
A Facebook group was created to help the victims. Click here to see how you can donate. Two local churches, Destiny Church and Firm Hope Baptist Church are also collecting donations.
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