A preliminary investigation indicates that Monday's deadly fire in West
Philadelphia was caused by an electrical problem, according to Fire
Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.
The blaze happened early Monday on the 5200
block of Chancellor Street. Killed in the fire were Seneca "Chuck"
McClendon, his son's fiancee Rishya Jenkins, 4-year-old Cyncere
McClendon, and 2-year-old Jayden McClendon.
Relatives, friend and
neighbors grieved outside the home yesterday, including the grandmother
of the toddlers who required medical attention after collapsing. Ayers
and others were on the scene to distribute fire safety checklists and
smoke detectors. Ayers said the home did not have working smoke
"We want to warn families to take care of their electrical
systems, make sure they don't overload them," he said. "Make sure that
[they don't use power strips] improperly, never use extension cords,
never put extension cords under rugs, don't put extension cords around
nails and stuff like that."
The third fatal fire in a week once again highlighted the crucial need for simple prevention measures.
Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said yesterday that there were no working smoke detectors in the residence. The deaths brought the number of fire fatalities to 16 in the first four months of 2012.
The mayor cut short his meeting with reporters outside the Chancellor Street home after a relative of the four people killed collapsed on the sidewalk nearby and needed oxygen.