Fire Dept. Releases Cause in Gesner Street Fire - NBC 10 Philadelphia

A Visit Back To The Block Where a Massive Fire Ripped Through SW Philly Homes, Killing 4 Children

Fire Dept. Releases Cause in Gesner Street Fire



    Fire Dept. Releases Cause in Gesner Street Fire
    Sarah Glover

    The Philadelphia Fire Department announced Friday the results of the investigation into the fire that destroyed a city block and took the lives of four children.

    Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said the cause of the blaze that tore through multiple homes on the 6500 block of Gesner Street in southwest Philly in the early morning hours of July 5 is "undetermined," according to a news release.

    "Unfortunately, extensive damage to the initial area of fire destroyed the physical evidence required to determine the exact cause of this fire," Sawyer said.

    The cause, which was determined by the Chief Fire Marshal, was announced the same day a wake is being held for the four children killed in the blaze.

    Four-year-old twin sisters Maria Bowah and Marialla Bowah, 1-month-old Taj Jacque, and 4-year-old Patrick Sanyeah perished in the fire, which also destroyed 13 homes and 5 automobiles, and displaced 40 people, according to the Fire Department.

    Five others were also hurt in the fire. They were treated at a local hospital and have since been released.

    The investigation confirmed the fire originated on the porch of 6516 Gesner St.

    Despite the Chief Fire Marshal declaring the cause of the fire "undetermined," there is a possiblility the investigation could continue.

    "The Chief Fire Marshal's determination of cause does not preculde the opportunity to revisit the case if new evidence surfaces," Sawyer said.

    Anyone who may have new information is urged to notify the Fire Marshal's Office at 215-686-1362.