Iman Sedaris was eating breakfast with his family and a friend when the earth shook and sand started blowing inside his South Philadelphia home Monday morning.
"I take my wife and my friend and my daughter, and we're leaving, we ran outside," Sedaris said, excitedly a couple of hours after the home two doors down exploded. "We left everything!"
Sedaris got out the front door and immediately saw his neighbor.
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"My friend, oh my God, he has a small baby. He ran outside, I saw him and he said, 'Please, take my baby,' and I took him."
Sedaris carried that baby off to safety, along with his family. They ran, he said, to the shelter of a brother’s home nearby and Sedaris tried to return to his scene. Daly Street is one of those blocks dotted by row homes where neighbors tend to know one another.
"I came back to see if I could help others, but the cops came and said, 'Please, nobody come back," Sedaris said.
Sedaris lives at 424 Daly Street. His neighbor with the baby lives at 426, right next door to the home at 428 Daly that was leveled by an explosion around 11 a.m. Investigators suspect a gas leak. A contractor was in the basement working on the water heater when the blast occurred. He is the most seriously injured, with burns over 22-percent of his body.
Seven other people were hurt, including two infants. Two of the injured were in the row home on the other side of 428 Daly where Sekeya Fields lives. Her 36-year-old boyfriend has a concussion and her 15-year-old daughter has minor injuries after enduring a major scare.
“She was in her room and her room is on the second floor and when they dug her out, she was in the kitchen,” her mother, Fields, said. “Everything’s gone. Everything we have is gone.”
Fields has been renting the home for the last two years.
“We don’t have any clothes, any shoes or anything. I don’t even have any I.D. right now,” she said. Fields came back, hoping to get her cat.
“My daughter was in there. My boyfriend was in there and my cat was in there. And they are out but my cat is trapped in the house and they will not allow me to go and get the cat.”
Emergency and utility crews have the street blocked off. Philadelphia Gas Works must secure the area before the residents on Daly Street and several residents on neighboring Wolf Street can return.