Three children and their father died when fire engulfed a rowhome in Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood early Sunday morning, authorities said.
Family members and neighbors say the father was Alexis Arroyo Ríos. He and his three children, 5-year-old Yamaliel Arroyo Santana, 9-year-old Yadriel Arroyo Santana, and 12-year-old Alexangel Arroyo Santana.
The children's mother escaped through a window and remains hospitalized.
Firefighters arrived to the fire at the house on the 3000 block of Hartville Street around 2 a.m. and were met with “heavy” flames on the first and second floors of the residence, Philadelphia Fire Department Capt. Derek Bowmer said.
Witness video showed flames coming out of what appeared to be the home’s windows as thick plumes of smoke shot up into the air.
The woman was able to jump from the second floor, but once the flames were finally extinguished, firefighters found three kids and a man dead inside, Bowmer said.
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"He had the chance to jump out, but he ended up telling his wife to jump out the window ... [And] that he would get the children," neighbors said of Ríos. "So basically he died as a hero."
The residents were renting the property, Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said, adding that the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
Yamaliel was a kindergartener while Yadriel was a third grader at Lewis Elkin Elementary School, Principal Charlotte Maddox said during a press conference Sunday afternoon.
The woman who jumped was listed in stable condition at a local hospital, Bowmer said.
With the four who died in the Kensington fire, the number of people killed by fires in Philadelphia this year reached 21, Thiel said. The deceased include three adults and nine children who died in a house fire in the Fairmount neighborhood in January, he noted.
In addition, as of Sunday morning, 38 people had suffered fire-related injuries and some 312 families – totaling 758 individuals – had been displaced from their homes due to fires this year, Thiel said.
Thiel said there is currently an average of seven to eight "severe" fires a day in Philadelphia. He also said he doesn't believe the home in Sunday's incident had working smoke detectors and urged resident to get working smoke alarms in their homes.
“Folks, Philadelphia has a fire problem, and we need your help because fire is everyone’s fight," Thiel said. He asked people to call 311 to have the fire department install free smoke alarms in their residence.
Maddox said her school will provide fire prevention lessons to students for the rest of the school year, as well as sign families up to have smoke detectors installed in their homes. In addition, counselors will be available to students and staff, she said.