Center City residents looking for answers after fire

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Officials began a dialogue with local residents, many of whom had a lot of questions. (WPVI)

A panel consisting of Licenses and Inspections, the Philadelphia Fire Department, the Red Cross and emergency management met with concerned residents affected by last week's Center City fire.

They heard form Shari Goldman Gottlieb who was displace by the 4-alarm fire on Locust.

"What is the likelihood there will be any salvage? I lived at 2122 Locust Street so this particularly important to me," Goldman Gottlieb said.

Neighboring residents want to know the safety of the now gutted building that's been condemned.

"How is it you can tell us the structure is safe, specifically who, what are their credentials that inspected that structure?" one woman asked.

The fire department says the blaze started on the first floor, but the cause has not been determined. Arson has been ruled out.

"Once the snowstorm came there was more damage to the property, so right now we've held off on the investigation," Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said.

Goldman Gottlieb likely lost everything.

The panel told her eventually she may get inside her apartment to see if anything can be saved.

She's hopeful, but still disappointed.

"It would've been nice to hear one or two concrete ideas about what people could do to help us a little bit, to help us rebuild," Goldman Gottlieb said.

"We don't provide a lot of direct service, but what we do is make there is an initial reception center or shelter activated and that we start the recovery process and convene the right agencies to help," Samantha Phillips, Director of Philadelphia Emergency Management, said.

Goldman Gottlieb is staying with friends.

Her future is unclear, as is the fate of 2122 Locust.

But she's grateful to those who've helped during this trying time.

"This is a process of grief, but it made it much easier to bear," she said.
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