Crystal England was getting ready to go to bed when she heard a scream.
“It sounded like someone was getting kidnapped or raped or something,” she said. “Then I saw the flames from my third floor.”
Those flames were coming from a house on the 6600 block of N 12th Street in the East Oak Lane section of Philadelphia Tuesday night. The two-alarm blaze broke out around 9:30 p.m. at a home where a family of five lived. One member of that family, 25-year-old Andre Henderson, died in the fire.
Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Ayers says Henderson’s mother tried to get him out of the house.
"He panicked, he pulled away, he's a lot heavier than she was so she was not able to control him so he ran back up the stairs," said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.
England says she spoke to the victim’s sister moments after she got out.
“She was hysterical,” said England. “She was saying that someone was inside the house.”
Firefighters found Henderson’s body inside a bedroom on the second floor. A second person could have easily suffered the same fate if not for the efforts of Michael Glover, a Good Samaritan who spotted the family running from the house.
“She kept hollering, my family, my family!” said Glover. “I ran into the basement and the light was on. I saw an old man in there, hollering, ‘help me!’ I grabbed him and pulled him outside. By that time the firemen were coming up.”
Two other family members were taken to the hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation. The Red Cross is currently assisting the family.
Officials suspect that a ruptured gas line led to the blaze though they have not yet released an official cause. While firefighters eventually controlled the blaze, several nearby homes were evacuated.
Henderson's death was the 12th fire fatality this year in Philly compared to eight at the same time last year.