It looks like we’re ending the first week of 2022 with snow that could turn to rain and temperatures hovering just above freezing.
There’s more on how much snow and what it’s affecting, but we start today with the latest on this week’s fatal Fairmount house fire.
The initial theory of what caused Wednesday’s fatal fire on the 800 block of North 23rd Street is also unnervingly tragic.
While investigators are still using “all technology” available to accurately reach a determination, a probe and police records obtained by the Inquirer suggests that a Christmas tree ignited by a 5-year-old could have caused the blaze that killed 12 people, including eight children.
Witnesses told first responders that the child said the tree was on fire after emerging from the house. The child has since been interviewed by investigators who confirmed that he did set fire to the tree.
Authorities say the home had no working fire alarms and no emergency egress on the upper floors. The Inquirer Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom, says the tragedy is a wake-up call to city officials to ensure safe, affordable housing.
Also, we have a roundup of:
What you should know today
Citing low funding, Philadelphia is ending its rental assistance program, accepting applications until today at 5 p.m.
The CHOP Policy Lab suggests we start thinking of COVID-19 like other seasonal viruses.
A recounting of the Jan. 6 insurrection, from a pair of Trump supporters who didn’t storm the Capitol.
While Temple continues to grow in popularity and enrollment, it’s finding dwindling numbers of Black students concerning.
And the $3 million grant to build a floating classroom on the Schuylkill.
Local Coronavirus Numbers: Here’s your daily look at the latest COVID-19 data.
If you’re waking up to snow, know that your area, along with the rest of the region, could get as much as five inches, according to the National Weather Service. Even if you don’t get that much, it‘s already enough to:
☃️ Force school closures in Philly, its suburbs, and South Jersey.
☃️ Make New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy preemptively issue a state of emergency for a number of counties.
☃️ Create a messy Friday morning commute, as the heaviest snow was falling overnight.
☃️ Produce gale-force winds down the Shore and the lower Delaware Bay.
Our reporter Frank Kummer has more on what to expect from this storm if you’re planning to head out the door this morning.
🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠
Amid all the news in this first week of the new year, the oldest living U.S. veteran of World War II, Lawrence Brooks, passed away. Today’s question: What was Brooks’ age? Here’s a hint: It’s believed he was also the oldest man in America. Find the answer here.
What we’re …
Photo of the day
That’s my week – and what a week it’s been. While I go find a quiet place to turn my brain off, my colleague Ashley Hoffman will distill the week that was and more in our Sunday Morning Newsletter. I’ll be back to get you started on Monday. ✌️