Fast-Moving House Fire in Northeast Philadelphia Leaves 5-Year-Old Critical, Mom and Officer Hospitalized

The 5-year-old's mother made several attempts to get to the girl as well as an off-duty police officer, but thick smoke kept them at bay

Despite attempts by her mother and an off-duty police officer, a 5-year-old girl was trapped in her bedroom as fire consumed her Northeast Philadelphia home Thursday evening, fire officials said.

When firefighters were able to reach her, she was clinging on to life, witnesses said. She's now hospitalized in critical condition at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.

The fast-moving fire broke out around 5:30 p.m. in the girl's home along the 3700 block of Hereford Lane in the city's Morrell Park section. The girl's mother tried getting up to her daughter's second floor bedroom, but was overcome by smoke, officials said.

Neighbors said the woman was yelling about her daughter being trapped as she struggled to breathe.

"It was horrible, her mom ran in there several times to try to save her and she was coming out black from head to toe she couldn't breathe," said witness Lauren DiJoseph.

An off-duty Philadelphia police officer, a 19 year veteran who lives nearby, ran into the home to attempt a rescue, but was smacked back by thick smoke as well.

Firefighters were able to eventually save the girl. It's unclear how long she was trapped in the home.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said he's optimistic that the girl will pull through.

The girl's mother and the police officer were taken to area hospitals to be treated for smoke inhalation, officials said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. It's not clear if the family had working smoke detectors. The fire department is planning to check the status of smoke detectors in neighboring homes Friday.

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