Tears flow as Woman Loses 3 Daughters and 9 Grandchildren in fire outbreak in just a day

Vanessa McDonald may never recover from the death of her daughters and grandchildren in one of Philadelphia’s worst tragedies.

McDonald is in shock and is refusing to speak about the early morning fire that killed 12 people, according to her first cousin, Tommy White.

A family representative recognized her daughters as fire victims on Thursday night. Rosalee McDonald, 33, Virginia Thomas, 30, and Quinsha White were identified, and she stated she lost nine grandkids in the Fairmount neighborhood fire on Wednesday.

“We’re just trying to soften the shock for them right now,” White said early Thursday. “They remain in a state of denial.” They are still finding it difficult to accept this.

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The anguish they’re feeling and the things they’ll continue to experience for the rest of their lives — that’s the portion they share alone,” White concluded. “At this time, Vanessa is unable to speak about it since her heart is not accessible.”

Investigators were checking into the likelihood that a 5-year-old kid who was playing with a lighter set a Christmas tree on fire, triggering a blaze that killed 12 people in the Fairmount rowhome a day after the fire, officials confirmed.


The information was discovered in a search warrant application as municipal and federal authorities attempted to investigate the cause of the fire that killed two sisters, many of their children, and others early Wednesday.

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