1 Dead as Others Jump to Escape Flames From Philly Fire

Najah Yakpasuo worked with kids with disabilities and was engaged, his sister told NBC10, adding that he was "the kind of person who would always light up the place when he was around"

NBC Universal, Inc.

Firefighters made a grisly discovery Saturday when they found a person dead while sitting on a chair after a fire consumed part of a Southwest Philadelphia apartment complex.

The blaze at the International City Apartments on the 8500 block of Lindbergh Boulevard in Eastwick erupted around 7 a.m. and forced some people to jump from second-floor windows to escape the flames, Philadelphia Fire Department Assistant Chief Robert Wilkins said.

Firefighters got the flames under control a little less than half an hour after they arrived, at which point they found a body sitting in a chair in the first-story apartment where the fire began, Wilkins said.

Neighbors and police told NBC10 the deceased was homebound, but officials later said only that he was a 27-year-old man. The medical examiner's office is Najah Yakpasuo.

His sister, Rovita Yakpasuo, told NBC10 that her brother was healthy and active and was at the apartment visiting friends.

“He’s very energetic. He's the kind of person who would always light up the place when he was around," Rovita Yakpasuo said.

She added that her brother had moved to Philadelphia from Liberia when he was 22. He graduated college last year with a degree in biomedical engineering and planned to pursue physical therapy, she said. At the time of his death, he was working with kids with disabilities.


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Najah Yakpasuo was engaged and lived with his fiancé, his sister said. He is survived by his parents and four siblings.

“He was just full of life," Rovita Yakpasuo said. "He was full of life and it’s sad for him to go in this way."

No one was hurt while jumping out of windows to escape the flames that claimed Najah Yakpasuo's life, but two people had to be hospitalized for smoke inhalation, Wilkins, the assistant fire chief, said. In total, the fire damaged four apartments and displaced around a dozen people, including some families and elderly people.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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