Officials said a Philadelphia row house fire that left 13 dead, including seven children, on Wednesday might have been unintentionally started by a 5-year-old boy who was playing with a lighter near a Christmas tree, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Chesley Lightsey, chief of homicide for the Philadelphia district attorney's office, told the Inquirer that information was included in a search warrant application filed in the Philadelphia common pleas court.
When first responders arrived at the three-story row house before sunrise, the boy had made it out of the building. He told a neighbor, a paramedic, and a firefighter how the fire had started and that his mother had died, according to the Inquirer
Kelvin Jeremiah, the CEO of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, choked up as he recounted speaking with the mother of three sisters who died.
"Our focus has to be wrapping our arms around this family," he said, "this community, the staff who worked in this unit, [and] the police and firefighters who came out to see this incredible loss of life."
The child lived in the row house and fled from the blaze as it spread through the three-story complex.
As the child is under the age of 10, he cannot be charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, according to the Inquirer.
Dennis Merrigan, the deputy chief of the fire department, declined to discuss the cause but said the city Fire Marshal's Office is leading a "very complex" investigation, per the Inquirer.
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