PHILADELPHIA — At least 13 people have died following an early morning fire that ripped through a city-owned duplex in the Fairmount neighborhood on Wednesday, according to officials.

They say that at least seven children are among the 13 victims who were killed in the blaze, which first broke out around 6:30 a.m.

"This is one of the most tragic days in our city's history," Mayor Jim Kenney said during a Wednesday morning news conference. "Losing so many kids is just devastating."

Crews first responded to the scene — a three-story building located at 869 N. 23rd St.— at 6:38 a.m. They found flames billowing from the second floor of the three-story structure, but had the fire under control in approximately 50 minutes, they say

The building may have had 26 residents. The building is owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, officials said. The exact occupancy details of the building were not immediately clear.

Eight people managed to escape the flames. Two additional victims (one child and one adult) were hospitalized. Their conditions were not immediately clear.

A 2020 inspection of the duplex revealed that six smoke detectors were working in the building, but during Wednesday morning's news conference, officials said they don't believe the smoke detectors were working at the time of the blaze.

An investigation into the cause of the fire remains active at this hour via the City's Fire Marshal and other organizations.

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