The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

July 5, 2014

4 children die in Philly fire

PHILADELPHIA — Fire raced through a row of two-story homes in southwest Philadelphia early Saturday, killing 4-year-old twin girls, a 4-year-old boy and a baby and engulfing at least 10 houses, officials said. A mother and three of her children escaped through a second-floor window.

The blaze began shortly before 3 a.m. and was brought under control in about an hour, fire officials said. At least eight row homes were gutted, leaving only charred frames. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but witnesses said it may have begun on a couch on a porch.

The twins’ mother, 41-year-old Dewen Bowah, told police she was in the home with seven children and managed to get three of her other daughters out before jumping from second-floor window. But she couldn’t save the twins, Maria and Marialla Bowah, or 1-month-old Taj Jacque and 4-year-old Patrick Sanyeah. The boys’ mother

wasn’t in the home at the time.

“We lost four precious lives,” Mayor Michael Nutter said at an afternoon news conference.

“Four little innocent children, in a horrific tragedy. I can only pray that their pain was not long and they did not truly feel and experience the intensity of this fire and flames.”

Bowah and her three surviving daughters were taken to the hospital, but the extent of their injuries was not known.

Jeff Boone, 27, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he saw a couch on fire on the porch of a house about five doors down from his residence and heard children screaming.

The flames spread across porches so fast, he said, that “it looked like someone had a flame­thrower and just shot it all across.”

Boone said he called 911 and bolted out of his house to try to save his neighbors.

“I was running, screaming, telling everybody, ‘Get up! Yo, get yo! Go!’ ” he said.

Milton Musa told the newspaper his roommate woke him up and said their home was on fire.

Once outside, Musa said, he saw two children hanging from a neighbor’s window.

“I could see they weren’t strong, and I was afraid they’d fall to the cement,” Musa said.

“So I went underneath them, let them fall on my back and carried them away.”

He wiped away tears as he recalled the intense moments as the blaze swept through the neighborhood.

“Everyone was running for their lives,” he said. “I’ve lost everything. My paperwork, my documents, my house. Everything.”

The Red Cross said 42 people were displaced by the fire.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • TSA finds gun, ammo in Pittsburgh airport carry-on

    The Transportation Security Administration says it found a pistol and ammunition in man’s carry-on bag as he passed through security at Pittsburgh International Airport.

    July 28, 2014

  • Youth pastor fired, jailed after teen-sex charges

    A youth pastor has been fired by a western Pennsylvania church and jailed on charges he performed sex acts with a 15-year-old girl in their church building.

    July 28, 2014

  • Luksik, Peg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray. Johnstown resident Peg Luksik, who twice ran for governor as the Constitutional Party nominee, knows what it's like.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scaife remembered for strong convictions

    At a weekend memorial service, publisher Richard Mellon Scaife was remembered by the archbishop of Washington as someone who had the courage to stand “for things that mattered.”

    July 27, 2014

  • DePasquale Auditor: More Marcellus Shale well inspectors needed

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the past century.
    But boom times in the Marcellus Shale are bringing online thousands more wells that use a complicated process requiring more careful oversight.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Strained relationship between Corbett, Legislature not new

    Poking and prodding the Legislature to act on pension reform, Gov. Tom Corbett urged lawmakers to shorten their summer break and come back to the Capitol early.
    It’s a modest victory. The House will return to session Aug. 4, instead of the middle of September. And there’s little hint that lawmakers intend to knock themselves out trying to satisfy the governor.

    July 26, 2014

  • Wolf: Wealthy should pay more to cut school taxes

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf would make a centerpiece of his first budget proposal an increase in income taxes on Pennsylvania’s higher-earners to help expand the state’s share of public education funding in exchange for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in local property taxes levied by school boards.

    July 26, 2014

  • Penn State Abuse 27 Son: Joe Paterno afraid of wrongly accusing Sandusky

    Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno told his son the day after his firing that he hadn’t informed the coaching staff about allegations Jerry Sandusky may be a child molester because he was unsure whether they were true, Jay Paterno writes in a new book.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • State in Brief | Two guns found at alleged hospital shooter's home

    Authorities found two more guns at the home of a man suspected of fatally shooting his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist in suburban Philadelphia before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back.

    July 26, 2014

  • Woman raising stink about people using backyard near turnpike as a rest stop

    A Pennsylvania woman says she can see drivers who pull off the side of a highway relieving themselves near her backyard, and state police have been asked to increase patrols.

    July 23, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads