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Fire Kills Three in Philadelphia

April 4, 1998

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Fast-moving flames ripped through a two-floor row house, killing a bedridden elderly woman and two young children.

Three adults, including the mother of one of the children, survived by leaping out second-story windows.

Yuri Jackson, 4; Antonette Allen, 2; and Willie Mae McNeil, 78, were found on the second floor. The family’s next-door neighbor, Alethea Carroll, said Mrs. McNeil was Antonette’s great-grandmother.

The surviving woman was Antonette’s mother, who was baby-sitting the boy, Fire Commissioner Harold Hairston said Friday. Two other men also survived the jump and were hospitalized in good condition.

``I saw a ball of fire. It looked like the fire that comes out of the back end of a jet,″ said Joe Mond, a neignbor. ``I could hear the kids hollering. Nobody could have gone in there and lived through that.″

The fire was under control in about 10 minutes.

Hairston said the blaze appeared to have been begun accidentally in the basement. There was no evidence of smoke detectors in the house, he said.

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