PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In Chinatown, two alarms blazed through a building in the morning and investigators are now trying to determine the cause. A fire broke out in the area of 10th and Race Street before 2 a.m. Tuesday, forcing the building to be evacuated.
Around 25 residents were displaced by the fire. Despite extinguishing the fire, firefighters spent hours using a ladder truck to pour water onto the roof to make sure the fire didn’t flare up again.
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In the heart of Chinatown, several blocks remained closed for most of the day after the building caught fire.
Chopper 3 shows the roof burning as heavy smoke blows into the air.
“We didn’t know what was going on,” said resident Cathy Nguyen. “We went back and that’s where we see all the flames coming from, we don’t know where it’s coming from.”
Flames and smoke could be seen billowing out of the building. Firefighters spent hours battling this stubborn fire and were able to put it under control at around 6:13 a.m. The flames spread rapidly, affecting two nearby buildings, including several businesses.
At one point, there was so much smoke that it was hard to see on the road.
“We call it surround and sink,” said Captain Derek Bomer. “It’s an outside attack, we call it. So we have massive stream equipment that just pours water on it. What you don’t see is the back, we’re doing the same thing. So we just did It is surrounded. We will continue to pour water on it.”
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There were many firefighters on the ground and firefighters moved fire engines out of the way in case a building collapsed.
“It’s just a precaution,” Bomer said. “With such a heavy fire load and it’s burning for so long, for so many hours, we just want to set up this collapse zone. That’s usually what we do when it comes to these long, extended operations. Huh. “
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More than a dozen businesses closed due to the fire. Businesses around the corner where the road was closed were also affected.
“It’s lunch time, which should be completely packed, and now we don’t have any. So it’s like, no one might be able to work. No pickup service. So we fire Clement Ho, owner of Silly Chicken Rice, said.
There are lots of businesses in Chinatown. Businesses are usually on the lower floors of the building and the upper floors are residential units. CBS3 is told that many people were told to evacuate around 2 a.m.
Cathy, Jonathan and their cat Frankie quickly evacuate their home as flames engulf three nearby buildings.
Neighbor Jonathan Williams said, “Around 2 a.m. someone came knocking on the door, we didn’t know at first what it was.” “Then we get up, open the door and they’re fine, the fire alarm went off. We have to get out of here. We went down to the fire escape and we saw all these embers coming from the building to our right. I guess we’ll have to go down a little bit more. Then we turn around to the other side and we saw the whole building was like, you know, engulfed in flames.”
A portion of the roof collapsed while firefighters were dousing the fire from outside.
Neighbors gathered to watch consider themselves lucky and lucky, but business owners like Skylar Pratt in this bustling part of town are worried.
“It’s something to see because you come out, there’s black smoke and you can see the flames going up, there’s ash, it’s relatable,” Pratt said.
A firefighter was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire.
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CBS3’s Vakisha Bailey and Madeleine Wright contributed to this report.