Fatal Philly fire may have been caused by heater

    Investigators say a fire that killed an elderly Philadelphia woman may have been started by a kerosene heater she and her male companion began using after they couldn’t pay their natural gas bill.

    Relatives had paid the bill, but arrived too late Tuesday to tell 94-year-old Martha Frasier and her companion, 86-year-old Leroy Parker. He escaped before he was taken to Temple University Hospital with unspecified injuries and was reported in stable condition.

    Officials say the fire was reported in the city’s Strawberry Mansion section about 9 a.m. Tuesday.

    Firefighters found the woman dead upstairs in a bedroom, but found Parker, who authorities initially identified as her husband, outside yelling for help.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    Crews continuing to investigate the fire say the home had six smoke alarms, but none were working.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal