Philadelphia Fire: Lighter, Tree Started Fire That Killed 12 In Fairmount

By Fox29
Posted on 01/11/22 | News Source: FOX29

Fire investigators on Tuesday said a holiday tree ignited by a lighter caused a deadly rowhome fire in Fairmount last week that killed 12 people, including eight children. 

"We believe with certainty - so 99 to 100% confidence - that the first item ignited in this blaze was a [holiday] tree," Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said. "We believe with near certainty, based on the evidence, the ignition source for this tree was a lighter that was located nearby."

Thiel detailed the "exhaustive" investigation that included looking for all possible sources of ignition and sifting through charred debris. Investigators eventually concluded that a lighter found near the tree sparked the deadly fire.

Earlier in the week, a warrant revealed that authorities were investigating if a 5-year-old child playing with a lighter ignited the deadly blaze. Thiel did not confirm the theory, but he said that a 5-year-old was the only person on the second floor where the tree and the lighter were located at the time of the fire. 

"We are left with the words of that 5-year-old child, that traumatized 5-year-old child, to help us understand how the lighter and the tree came together with tragic consequences," Thiel said.