Naceeha Jones could barely keep up ahead of the flames tearing through homes on her West Philadelphia block overnight as she rushed to bang on neighbors' doors.
"The fire began spreading really fast," Jones, who lives on Larchwood Avenue near 58th Street where the fire broke out about 1 a.m., told NBC10 Saturday morning. "I ran from house to house, and the fire just followed me."
The fire eventually spread to several houses -- neighbors estimated that seven or eight suffered damage during the fire and as firefighters worked to stop it -- before firefighters placed it under control about 1:45 a.m. Neighbors on the block said a couch on the porch of a house somehow ignited, causing almost half the block to go up in flames in the span of minutes.
Fire officials didn't confirm the cause of the blaze, which left four people in the hospital with injuries, early Saturday. But the description neighbors gave -- of inside furniture on a porch outside a home catching ablaze and lighting porches on fire -- was reminiscent of the tragic blaze on Gesner Street two Julys ago that claimed the lives of four young children.
"These people got evicted out of their house, so they were putting furniture on the porch and stuff like that, and that's where the fire started. On the porch, on the furniture," Najma Williams, who lives across the street from the homes that caught fire, said.
The blaze on Gesner Street also started with a couch on a porch catching fire. Couches made of certain materials are highly flammable, and fire spreads quickly through the connected porches on old rowhouses, making for dangerous conditions for residents.
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Fortunately for the residents of Larchwood Avenue, though several homes are damaged, officials didn't report any life-threatening injuries. All four of the injured people remained at the hospital Saturday morning as crews worked to clean up the block.