The devastating fire in Philadelphia could have been caused by a child playing with a lighter next to a Christmas tree.
The Philadelphia building fire in which eight children and four adults died on Wednesday, January 5, could be caused by one of the child victims playing with a lighter next to a Christmas tree, according to investigators.
The theory was later confirmed to NBC News by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office although a spokesperson noted that the investigation, which is being conducted by the Philadelphia Fire Department and the Agency for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has only just begun.
One of the points of the investigation is to determine why the smoke detectors installed in the building did not alert the tenants of the flames.
Firefighters said the building had four battery-operated smoke detectors but none were working. The last time the building was inspected was in 2020.
The fire, one of the deadliest in recent decades in the country, started early Wednesday in the three-story building that contained two houses. Eight people resided in the first house, which occupied the first floor and part of the second, while the second house, located between the second and third floors, housed another 18.
The building is owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), a municipal organisation that provides social housing to low-income people. The PHA website notes that it is the fourth-largest public housing agency in the United States, with about 76,000 tenants.