First Lady Jill Biden among leaders reacting to ‘heartbreaking loss’ in fatal fire at Philadelphia Housing Authority apartment – Greeley Tribune

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Leaders, including the First Lady, are expressing their condolences and shock after a massive fire Wednesday morning at two Philadelphia Housing Authority apartments that killed 13 people. Seven of those victims were children.

In an early morning press conference, Mayor Jim Kenney’s emotional words emphasized the children killed, saying, “This is undoubtedly one of the saddest days in the history of our city. The loss of so many people in such a tragic way.” I have nothing more to say than please all these people and these children in my prayers.”

Read more: Deadly Fairmount Fire. Years ago, PHA residents sounded the alarm on escape routes

“Losing so many children is just devastating. Keep these children in your prayers,” he said.

He followed up the statement with a tweet soon after.

News of the Philadelphia tragedy spread quickly, which caught the attention of the nation’s first lady, Jill Biden.

“My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the victims of the Great Fire in Philadelphia,” Biden tweeted.

Read more: At least 13 children killed in fire at Philadelphia Housing Authority apartment in Fairmount

Other local leaders have continued to issue statements after the massive fire.

State representative Malcolm Kenyatta described the incident as a tragedy, saying his heart was heavy for those who lost their loved ones.

“I’m finding it hard to find the words to express my deep sorrow for the death of at least 13 people, including 7 children, in this morning’s fire in Philadelphia,” said Rep. Kenyatta. “This tragedy, which happened so close to home, in the Fairmount section of town, weighs heavily on my heart, as we mourn those lost and look forward to those in hospital.”

City Council President Darrell Clark issued a statement on the fire, focusing on the “tremendous loss of life” and the heroic work of the Philadelphia Fire Department. She wrote:

“I know that all the people of Philadelphia are with me today in mourning the tremendous death caused by this morning’s fire at 869 North 23rd Street. We send our prayers to the family members, friends and neighbors of the six adults and seven children , who caught fire this morning. We also send our thoughts to the two residents currently hospitalized and pray for their full recovery.

The men and women of the Philadelphia Fire Department responded quickly at 6:38 a.m. and fought valiantly to minimize the loss of life in this fast-moving fire. We thank them for their bravery and recognize the pain they are feeling today. We pledge to support our first responders and members of the Fairmount community as they deal with the trauma of this morning’s events.

We also promise our full support to the Fire Marshal’s Office, the ATF and all agencies that will be part of a thorough investigation into the cause of this tragedy.

Calvin Jeremiah, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Housing Authorities, issued the following comment on the fire:

“This unimaginable loss of life has shaken us all” PHA, It is too early for us to say anything more. Property was last inspected PHA in May 2021, and all smoke detectors were working properly at that time. The Fire Department, ATF and others are investigating. Any information regarding the cause will come through them. Our primary goal right now is to support our residents in any way they can.”

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Stay tuned to CBS3 for more on this developing story.