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'A Recipe For Disaster': Philadelphia Housing Authority Scrutinized After 12 Killed In Fairmount Fire

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- We are still waiting for an official cause of the deadly Fairmount fire that killed 12 people, eight of them children. Now tough questions are being asked about the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the safety of the property in question.

Officials returned to the 800 block of North 23rd Street in Fairmount Friday, working to piece together an investigation as neighbors looked on.

"I'm just hoping that they get to the bottom of what was happening with PHA and all those people," Jolie Marinucci said.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority is the commonwealth's largest landlord.

PHA President Kelvin Jeremiah spoke at a news conference Thursday, feet from the devastating fire from the PHA-owned property. He was asked about the building's lack of a fire escape.

"I'm not sure if I look around here if I'll be seeing in any of these million-dollar homes, fire escapes," Jeremiah said.

CBS3 talked to personal injury attorney Andrew Duffy on Friday.

"It is crystal clear that this family did not have the adequate means to get out of this house quickly," Duffy said.

There are also questions surrounding the smoke detectors. The fire department found them not working but Jeremiah pointed to inspection reports from last year that show new smoke detectors were installed.

His conclusion?

"They were tampered with," Jeremiah said.

Still, Duffy says the reports show the new smoke detectors were tamper-proof.

"If they truly were tamper-proof why weren't they working?" Duffy said.

The PHA was also asked if there were sprinklers inside the home.

"Not in our older housing stock," Jeremiah said.

Eyewitness News spoke to a second personal injury attorney, Jordan Strokovsky.

"They knew that there was no hard-wire fire detectors. There likely were not any fire partitions. We know there was no sprinkler system. This is a recipe for disaster," Strokovsky said.

Investigators say it could be weeks before they finish.

Click here to see how you can help the victims.

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