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One Dead In Fire At North Philadelphia Boarding House

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- One person has died in a fire at a North Philadelphia boarding house for disabled veterans and homeless youth.

Flames broke out shortly before 3 a.m. Friday at the Alliance of Youth Mission Ministries building in the 3000 block of North 22nd Street.

The fire was confined to one room on the top floor of the three-story building. It was quickly brought under control, but not before it claimed the life of a resident at the shelter. Firefighters found the body of a man inside the third floor room.

"At this time, we're not sure of the cause and origin, but there were a lot of smoking materials in the room," said Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer. "And this person had a walker right by their bed. So they might have had some disabilities also."

The age and identity of the victim were not immediately released.

Twenty-three others who lived in the building were evacuated and taken to area shelters. Two people were taken to the hospital where they were treated for minor smoke inhalation.

Investigators were trying to determine if those residents had enough warning about the fire.

"What we're trying to investigate now is whether or not the alarm system was working," said Sawyer. "Because this is a boarding home, so you have an alarm system. We have multiple reports. Some say the alarm system was working, some say that it wasn't.  So, we're going to have L&I come out and take a look at this system."

The cause of the fire was being investigated.

This was the 25th fire-related death in the city this year, four more than last year's total of 21, according to fire officials.

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