The fire hit S.W. Smith Moving and Storage facility at 10:30 a.m. along the 1500 block of Ruan Street in Philadelphia's Frankford section. First responders saw smoke coming from the building. The 2nd alarm was struck at around 10:45 a.m. and by 11 a.m., the blaze had reached 3 alarms.
Action News spoke with a few families who live near the facility where the fire started. They told Walter Perez they saw smoke after hearing a loud clap of thunder.
Dana Montleone said, "I'm getting ready to go to work, I hear a big bang. We thought maybe lightning struck something. We came outside because we smelled fire. We're looking in the house. We don't see anything, and we notice smoke and all from the building."
Despite the reports of witnesses in the neighborhood, an official cause for the fire has not yet been made.
Firefighters called for the third alarm when they decided to pull out some of the men who were battling the flames on the inside of the building.
"Early into the job, we had a roof collapse", said Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers. "Heavy fire through the roof, and we had set up a perimeter as a collapse zone so all of our folks could stay safe."
PECO shut down power throughout the neighborhood as roughly 100 firefighters tried to douse the flames. SEPTA also had to reroute some service for about 2 hours before the flames were brought under control.
No injuries were reported.
The Red Cross is assisting about 17 people from three families, who were displaced in the blaze.