3 alarm fire in South Philly

September 23, 2008 4:57:34 AM PDT
Flames ripped through a small business at 2nd and Reed in South Philadelphia Monday night.Firefighters battled the three alarm blaze at A&P Laminations.

Rescuers were called out around 8:30 p.m. Monday, and it took them about an hour and a half to get the fire under control.

The fire chief says it was a close call, because the business sits in a residential neighborhood, with blocks of row homes nearby.

"My little sister called me an said she couldn't even breathe. She thought it was around the corner, and she came back to the house and her lungs were full of smoke," said neighbor James Gallagher.

Several residents reported hearing and seeing explosions Monday night.

"All I saw was the fire, and I heard the 'boom' from the chemicals going up," said neighbor Terry Kelly.

Inside the building are items like glue pods and other highly flammable materials, which made it such a dangerous situation.

As a result, 32 people were evacuated, and another 63 were left without power. Two homes were damaged by fire and smoke. No one was hurt.

"We're hoping that we can get those folks back in their homes as soon as we can clear up the street a little bit," said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

Many people were worried about the chemicals in the air, but officials say they believe the air quality will be okay as the smoke continues to clear out.

People who were displaced were taken to Washington Elementary School. Some of the evacuated have since been allowed to return to their homes.

PECO tells Action News power will be restored some time this morning.

There is no word yet on what caused the fire.

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