Old City still reeling from 4-alarm inferno

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Old City still reeling from 4-alarm inferno. Jeff Chirico reports during Action News at 11pm on February 23, 2018. (WPVI)

The impact of a four-alarm fire earlier this week was still being felt as the weekend got underway in the Old City section of Philadelphia.

239 Chestnut was destroyed by the blaze, and work will begin next week to bring the remains of the building down.

By Friday night, police cars were still blocking the scene of Sunday's fire. Some businesses, like the Best Western hotel and The Little Lion restaurant are closed indefinitely.

Dozens of people were left looking for work.

"We're five days later, still not allowed in the building. Reality starts to set in and we don't have any information," said owner Chris Younge.

He estimates The Little Lion won't reopen for at least two months. He put out a call on Facebook to find new positions for his staff.

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Watch video from Chopper 6 over the aftermath of a major fire in Old City Philadelphia on February 19, 2018.



The City Tavern was the first of 40 to open their doors.

"We reached out to them and said any of their employees who might want to come here permanently or temporarily we'd be more than happy to take some employees off their hands, get people back to work," said Jason Biddle.

"I was overwhelmed by how many responded. It was really cool," said Younge.

160 people living in apartments at 239 Chestnut were forced to evacuate. No one was hurt.

Although it still stands, preservation advocates say an inspection revealed the 170-year-old facade is too deteriorated to save.

"It hits pretty hard because the 200 block of Chestnut Street is one of the most intact blocks of 19th-century fabric we have in the entire city," said Paul Steinke of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, Younge is busy talking with insurance companies and planning a benefit for his out of work staff. He's grateful for a community that has rallied around them.

"Certainly not everyone has found a job yet but there should be enough offers out there to land everybody," he said.

The city wants to remind everyone that numerous road closures will remain while the building is torn down.

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