Fairmount Fire

Family Mourns 12 Victims of Deadly Philly Fire

While officials have not yet identified them, family members provided photos of the victims to NBC10.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Loved ones shared photos of the victims of a deadly row home fire that killed 12 people, including eight children, in Philadelphia's Fairmount neighborhood Wednesday morning.

Photos of the victims.

"I work with children," Qaadira Purifoy, a relative of the victims, told NBC10 while fighting back tears. "To know that my nieces and nephews are not here, it's going to be really hard for me to work with kids again. And to be around kids that are not my nieces and nephews. So that hurts the most. And losing sisters. I never thought this would happen. Never."

While officials have not yet identified them, family members provided photos of some of the victims to NBC10, including 16-year-old Quintien Terrell Tate McDonald.

A photo of 16-year-old Quintien Terrell Tate-McDonald.

"Just remember Quintien being a sweet kid," Miesha Bryant, another relative of the victims, told NBC10. "It's just hard right now for this family."

Loved ones, including Jacuita Purifoy, held a circle of prayer Wednesday evening in honor of the lives lost.

"My sisters and my nephews and my nieces are gone," Jacuita Purifoy said. "They are deceased. They are never coming back."

Photos of the victims.

The fire began around 6:40 a.m. on the second floor of the row home duplex along the 800 block of North 23rd Street, near Ogden Street, in the densely residential Fairmount neighborhood, Philadelphia police and fire officials said.

The house is owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, according to city records.

Sources said investigators are looking at how the fire spread so fast -- and the possibility that a Christmas tree went up in flames, fueling the deadly blaze.

A child who ran out of the building told investigators a Christmas tree caught fire before flames spread inside the duplex, multiple sources told NBC10.

Relatives of the victims said the only way to get out of the second floor unit where the fire spread was through a window.

"I feel like this could've been avoided. I feel like it should be mandatory that the city goes around making sure that the fire alarms are working and that there's fire extinguishers in every house," Qaadira Purifoy said.

Two other family members who survived the fire, an adult and a child, remain in critical condition at the hospital.

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