Philly mayor, bodyguards happen upon house fire

Monday, July 23, 2007
Philadelphia Mayor John Street gestures during a news conference at City Hall in Philadelphia in this Sept. 14, 2006 file photo. The mayor and two of his bodyguards happened upon a house fire and ended up rescuing a cat, helping a victim and warning other neighbors, officials and witnesses said. The fire in the Spring Garden section of the city started around 7 a.m. Friday July 20, 2007. Neighbor Dorothy Young said she saw the smoke and came outside to find two children who lived in the house crying hysterically at the bottom of her steps. (AP Photo/George Widman-File)

PHILADELPHIA -- The mayor and two of his bodyguards happened upon a house fire and ended up rescuing a cat, helping a victim and warning neighbors, officials and witnesses said.

Neighbor Dorothy Young said she saw the smoke Friday morning and went outside to find two children who lived in the house crying at the bottom of her steps.

"We were all in shock, just yelling and crying," Young said. "I couldn't believe what was happening. It was like a movie."

Mayor John Street and two bodyguards, who had been walking to city hall when they saw the burning home, rushed over to help, Young said.

The bodyguards carried a boy who suffered minor burns into Young's home and went into the burning house to rescue a cat.

Street, clad in sneakers, sweats and a ballcap, began banging on doors and urging people to leave their homes, said city commerce director Stephanie Naidoff. He told her the story before leaving town for the weekend, she said.

Children playing with matches started the fire, and it was brought under control in a few minutes, said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers. A 9-year-old was treated for minor burns, and three other people who lived in the house escaped without major injuries.

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