NBCPhiladelphia.com- Nefertiti Jaquez
More than 2-dozen people are forced from their homes in a Kingsessing apartment building after a fire. Officials say it was deliberately set. NBC10's Nefertiti has details.
Pam Elliot says she had just gotten home from work when she saw the chaotic scene.
"There were people jumping out the windows, falling out the windows and calling for help," she said.
A fire broke out around 6:30 p.m. at Trinity Apartments, a 4-story apartment building on the 1000 block of South 48th Street in the Kingsessing section of the city. Elliot watched in horror as flames tore through the complex while her husband, Derek Elliot, was inside.
"My husband could've died in there!" she said.
Derek says he was inside his living room when the fire began.
"I couldn't get out of the door because of the smoke," he said. "So the fireman took me out of the bathroom window. It was that dark, heavy smoke that got me. It was real scary."
So scary in fact that a man and a woman jumped from their windows to safety.
"I said, 'Charlie, you're gonna jump?' said Aaron Johnson, another resident. "He said, 'Yeah.' He was already hanging there."
The man and woman were both taken to the hospital where they are in stable condition.
Fire crews quickly put out the blaze but the damage had already been done. The fire displaced 28 residents who lived on the second floor and 11 cats were rescued.
Fire officials say the blaze started on the second floor. Sources close to the investigation also say however that the cause of the fire is arson. The arsonist used an accelerant and a K9 picked up the scent of the fluid, according to the sources. The fire department previously responded to the apartment complex twice in the last month for other suspicious fires.
"All I have is what I have on my back now," said Pam Elliot.
L&I deemed the apartment building safe late Wednesday night. While the second floor residents are still without a home, the other residents were allowed back inside the complex. The displaced residents are being assisted by the Red Cross and are currently staying inside hotels provided by the apartment management company.
Officials continue to investigate the fire.