READING, Pa. – The news of the fatal fire in Philadelphia is drawing attention from all over, including from fire officials in Reading.
Fire department leaders are keeping an eye on the investigation as it unfolds.
“It’s certainly a very high number of people to be, unfortunately be taken by fire in one building,” said Reading Fire Marshal Jeremy Searfoss.
Searfoss says a fire of this caliber in terms of the devastating loss of life can prove challenging when it comes to the investigation after the smoke has cleared.
“Obviously, it’s very early on in the investigation,” Searfoss explained. “There’s a lot of moving parts to these, any fire fatalities investigation, but when you’re dealing with multiple fatalities, there are a lot of parts to manage,” Searfoss said.
Searfoss says this fatal fire reminded him of some in the city this past year, including one on Muhlenberg Street in July that left three dead, including a 9-year-old and a 2-year-old.
As a lack of smoke detectors is proving to be a big factor in these deaths, officials also point to overcrowded homes and the odd configuration of the units, something Searfoss says is a problem right here in Reading, too.
“Just that number of people will oftentimes make it difficult in a fire situation where visibility is obscured,” Searfoss said. “You have people running into each other and it’s just very crowded.”
Searfoss says everyone should check their fire alarms and make sure they have adequate batteries.