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Philadelphia firefighter deaths: Officials probe killer blaze

April 10, 2012|By Michael Muskal

Philadelphia officials said Tuesday that they've opened investigations into the fire at a vacant warehouse that led to the deaths of two firefighters.

The investigations are still in the early phase as officials seek to find a cause for the fire, a spokeswoman for Dist. Atty. Seth Williams said by telephone Tuesday. The city is also examining other buildings belonging to the developers who owned the warehouse and similar buildings like the one where the fire started about 3:15 a.m. Monday.

There is no indication how long the investigations will take, but Fire Department Executive Chief Richard Davison told the Associated Press on Tuesday that it could take a long time to determine the cause of the fire, especially considering the size of the six-story building that was burned.

The two firefighters were killed when the roof collapsed in a nearby furniture store where the flames had spread. The dead have been identified as 60-year-old Lt. Robert Neary and 25-year-old Daniel Sweeney.

City officials have said the warehouse had been cited several times for code violations. The warehouse was supposed to be converted in an 81-unit development.

An attorney for the developers, York Street Property Development, called the fire “an unspeakable tragedy.”


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