The Fairmount fire and a grieving community

A fire in a Philadelphia rowhouse killed 12 people - eight of them children - this week. We'll talk about the investigation, the devastation, the families and the community.

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The exterior of a rowhouse that burned in Fairmount

Philadelphia firefighters and police work at the scene of a deadly rowhouse fire, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Fairmount. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

A devastating blaze in a Philadelphia rowhouse killed 12 people – eight of them children – on Wednesday morning. The city’s deputy fire commissioner has called it one of the worst fires he’s seen. So far, officials have said the duplex, owned by Philadelphia Housing Authority, had four non-functional battery-powered smoke detectors, and the investigation into the underlying causes is still underway.

We’ll start this hour with WHYY housing and community development reporter AARON MOSELLE, to discuss what we know about the fire so far, the lives lost and the families affected. Then, City Council President DARRELL CLARKE talks about the devastation and the impact on the city and the community. We’ll also talk about the individual and collective grief and trauma caused by the horrific tragedy and get insight and advice on healing with Drexel University psychiatrist KARRIEM SALAAM and Pennsylvania Hospital Chaplain REV. BRIAN DUNLOP.


Aaron Moselle, WHYY housing and community development reporter @awmoselle

Darrell Clarke, President of City Council and represents Philadelphia’s 5th Council District @Darrell_Clarke

Karriem Salaam, adult and child & adolescent psychiatrist on the faculty of Drexel University College of Medicine and  founding member of Global Health Psychiatry.

Rev. Brian Dunlop, Pennsylvania Hospital chaplain and a certified disaster chaplain

Recommended reading

WHYY, ‘I feel broken’: 8 children among 12 people killed in Fairmount rowhouse fire – “I’ve been around for 35 years now, and this is probably one of the worst fires I’ve ever been to,” Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said at the scene Wednesday morning. “I don’t have the words for how we’re feeling right now.”

Philadelphia Inquirer, Two sisters and their children are among the 12 who died in Philadelphia’s rowhouse fire

Billy Penn, How to help survivors of the devastating and tragic Fairmount house fire

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