Police warn of woman in winter coat 'possibly starting fires' in West Philadelphia neighborhood

A home in West Philadelphia was set on fire in an act of arson this week, according to police, who are urging residents to be extra cautious.

Officers responded to the home on the 500 block of Allen Street for reports of a fire during the early morning hours Sunday.

The homeowner told police she smelled something burning and saw smoke in the house.

Crews put out the fire, which police said was later declared to be arson. The Southwest Detective Division is investigating.


Neighbors up and down the street fear their home could be next.

"Her daughter was laying on the couch right there when the fire started and then a fireman dragged the little girl out the window and saved her," said neighbor James Wyatt. "It started with my house, first throwing cocktail bombs in my yard. It’s alarming. It’s threatening. Got to stay up all night and watch the house. The front, back and lights on – it’s crazy."

Police are telling residents to be on the lookout, handing out flyers that read, "Alert! Beware of an unknown female in your area wearing a winter coat. Possibly starting fires."

The Philadelphia Fire Department said there is an ongoing investigation into a cause.