Inquirer staff writer Michael Matza reports: 

The fatal fire shocked Liberian communities up and down the East Coast, with calls of concern coming in from Maryland, Connecticut and Rhode Island, said Showih Kamara, president of the Liberian Association of Pennsylvania.

"This is a major devastation. It is really a big blow. It's indescribable. No human being should go through this kind of pain," said Kamara, of Sharon Hill, Delaware County, who was among about 100 West Africans gathered outside the charred house in Southwest Philadelphia today.

To arrange for assistance to victims' families, members of the local Liberian community will meet  4 p.m. Sunday at Christ International Baptist Church, 2210 S. 65th St., about four blocks from the stricken house.

"We are going to rally around them and insure that their needs will be provided," said Portia Kamara, a social worker, born in Liberia, who came to America in 1985. "We will assist them in burying the dead. We will assist them in bouncing back."

Portia Kamara's group, Multi-Cultural Community Family Services, of Upper Darby, specializes in providing social services to African immigrants in and around Philadelphia.

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