Grand jury probes Philly warehouse blaze that killed two firefighters

A Philadelphia grand jury has started an investigation into whether charges should be brought following a deadly warehouse fire in the Kensington neighborhood.

The city’s district attorney Tuesday announced the grand jury probe into the blaze that killed two firefighters, but is not saying anything more.

Mayor Michael Nutter says District Attorney Seth Williams made the right choice in turning over the fatal fire to a grand jury to see if the owners of the burned warehouse should be charged.

“Given the numerous times we contacted these owners, the numerous times they failed to respond, the size of this property that had potential issues of negligence, possibly risking a catastrophe, certainly warranted further investigation,” Nutter said. “An investigating grand jury is the proper forum and venue for that.”

Nutter said the property owners already have hired a top city criminal attorney.

“They didn’t hire Mike Schwartz to deal with L&I violations. They know they have a serious issue on their hands and that’s why they hired the best that they could,” Nutter said. “That says a lot to me about what this situation is really all about and they have some really serious stuff on their hands.”

Schwartz’s office says he’s out of town and not available to respond.

Williams’ office says there will be no further comment.

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