Former Judge Anthony DeFino Killed In House Fire - KMSP-TV

Former Judge Anthony DeFino Killed In House Fire

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PHILADELPHIA -

A fast-moving house fire in Girard Estates has claimed the life of a high-profile former Philadelphia judge.

District Attorney Seth Williams confirmed that former Common Pleas Judge Anthony DeFino, 86 was the victim in an all-hands fire near the corner of 20th and Porter Streets.

"I lost one of my best friends," Williams said.

Philadelphia fire officials tells us the fire broke out in the three-story home about 7:30 p.m. Sunday. It quickly went to three alarms.

Fire and smoke were seen coming through the roof when firefighters arrived. It only took about a half an hour to put the blaze under control, but long enough to claim the life of Judge DeFino, whose body we are told was found in the living room.

DeFino's wife was inside with him at the time. She made it out with no injuries.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

DeFino presided over several high-profile cases during the 1990s.

The highly-respected judge in the legal community was a father to eight children and a father figure to many more around Philadelphia, including Williams.

DeFino may have retired at age 80 back in 2006 from his daily judicial career, but he was still active at the courthouse, serving as a mentor to many.

FOX 29's Steve Keeley reported that he ran into DeFino frequently covering cases as late as this summer, and he said he was coming back almost every day to consult for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, telling the newer, younger prosecutors tips on how to talk to juries, judges and just to act properly in a Philadelphia, court of law.

DeFino's daughter is also a Common Pleas Court judge.

So, this is a huge loss for the city and neighborhood along with family and friends, Keeley reported Monday morning.

An investigation into the fire's cause continues.

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