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Associated Press
Philadelphia firefighters work on burned row houses Saturday in Philadelphia. Witnesses say the fatal fire may have started on a couch on a porch.

4 kids dead as fire guts houses in Philadelphia

– Fire raced through a row of two-story homes in southwest Philadelphia early Saturday, killing 4-year-old twin girls, a 4-year-old boy and a baby and engulfing at least 10 houses, officials said. A mother and three of her children escaped through a second-floor window.

The blaze began shortly before 3 a.m. and was brought under control in about an hour, fire officials said. At least eight row houses were completely gutted, leaving behind only charred frames. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but witnesses said it may have begun on a couch on a porch.

The twins’ mother, 41-year-old Dewen Bowah, told police she was in the home with seven children and managed to get three of her daughters out before jumping from a second-floor window. But she couldn’t save the twins, Maria and Marialla Bowah, or 1-month-old Taj Jacque and 4-year-old Patrick Sanyeah. The boys’ mother wasn’t in the home at the time.

21 shot in Chicago over holiday night

Chicago was hit with a burst of gun violence on the Fourth of July, with at least 21 people shot during an 11-hour stretch from Friday evening into Saturday morning, according to police.

That brought to 36 the number of people who have been shot in the city since the long holiday weekend began Thursday afternoon, when two women were hit by gunfire as they sat on a porch on the West Side.

The holiday shootings have stretched across the city but have been concentrated in the South and West sides.

N. Carolina beaches back in business

North Carolina’s popular beach towns began returning to the business of recreation Saturday, after Hurricane Arthur lashed the coast with forceful winds and heavy rain and then churned northward without leaving a trail of significant damage.

Arthur was downgraded to a tropical storm early Saturday, but the storm’s near-hurricane strength winds slammed into Canada’s maritime provinces, causing about 250,000 customers to lose power. The storm has caused flight cancellations and delays at the region’s largest airport in Halifax, while flooding some local roads in New Brunswick.

New England was largely spared from damage spawned by the storm, but some 19,000 people in Maine and 1,600 in Vermont were without power.

None hurt as blaze ruins Calif. homes

A fire tore through a Northern California community, destroying eight homes and damaging three more over the holiday weekend that has firefighters throughout California hard at work.

Nobody was injured in the Friday afternoon blaze in the small community of Collinsville along the Sacramento River, about 60 miles east of San Francisco, Chief Joe Rosewall of the Montezuma Fire District in Solano County said Saturday.

The fire is out, but 25 residents are without homes. The fire caused an estimated $2.5 million in damage, Rosewall said.

Nicole Browns father dies at 90

Louis Brown Jr., the father of Nicole Brown Simpson, has died at his Southern California home, a family attorney said Saturday. He was 90.

Two children preceded him in death, including Simpson, who was slashed to death in 1994 with friend Ronald Goldman. Her former husband, O.J. Simpson, was acquitted of murder in the high-profile trial. Brown and his daughter Denise founded the Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation, through which he worked to raise awareness of domestic violence and increase funding for assistance.

N. Indiana power back after storms

Power has been restored to tens of thousands of northern Indiana homes and businesses which were left without electricity by storms that spawned 11 tornadoes earlier this week.

Northern Indiana Public Service Co. spokesman Nick Meyer says power was restored to all of the utility’s customers by Saturday morning. Indiana-Michigan Power spokeswoman Erica Putt says power was restored to all of that utility’s Indiana customers by Saturday.