NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - A community is rallying behind a North Philadelphia family in the wake of a fire that left three dead on Tuesday, March 20.
The bodies of those family members were found days after the fire on North 21st Street. Officials say occupants who escaped the blaze told firefighters that everyone was out of the building. It wasn't until days later that crews learned family members were still missing.
The bodies of 64-year-old Horace Johnson, his 25-year-old daughter Alita Johnson and her 3-year-old son Haashim were found on the third floor of the illegal rooming house.
"We are absolutely heartbroken at this outcome," said Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.
Thiel says firefighters did everything they could while fighting the blaze but were unable to access the third floor due to heavy fire and smoke conditions. Crews reportedly halted their primary search of the building after a stairwell collapsed.
Now, community members hope to ease the financial burden of the family affected by the fatal fire.
A fundraiser will be held Sunday night at the 5th Street Lounge in Olney to benefit the victims. The event, which will charge a $10 cover and feature drink specials, runs from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m.