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Area of 4-alarm Old City fire considered 'collapse zone'

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Collapse concerns after Old City fire. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News Mornings on February 19, 2018. (WPVI)

A 4-alarm fire in the Old City section of Philadelphia caused the evacuation of residents and hotel guests.

Road closures are still in effect due to the fire:

Chestnut Street is closed from 3rd Street to 2nd Street
2nd Street is closed from Arch Street to Walnut Street
3rd Street is closed from Walnut Street o Market Street

SEPTA is detouring the following bus routes, as well: 5, 9, 17, 21, 33, 42, 48, 57.

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Fire crews continue to fight hot spots in Old City fire: Annie McCormick reports on Action News at 11 p.m., February 18, 2018

Serious concerns remain if the building is structurally sound.

"We're in a humongous collapse zone and what we don't want to do is let people in too early," said Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy. "Through the night our crews will continue to extinguish hot spots."

Like officials, residents and business owners are waiting to assess the total amount of damage on the block.

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Hot spots continue to burn in Old City fire: Annie McCormick reports on Action News at 5 p.m., February 18, 2018

Restaurant owner Chris Younge doesn't yet know what that means for his business, The Little Lion.

"We have about 80 employees, so we have 80 some people depending on The Little Lion for their livelihood," said Younge. "I've been on the phone with all of our different insurances seeing what type of remediation we have for them."

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4-alarm fire breaks out in Old City. Bob Brooks reports during Action News at Noon on February 18, 2018.

Speaking live on Action News Sunday morning, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said there were more than 150 firefighters and medics with 60 apparatus on the scene.

"We're going to be here for hours," Thiel said.

The fire broke out shortly after 3 a.m. near 3rd and Chestnut streets.

Arriving firefighters found heavy smoke showing from a building with a store on the first floor and apartments on the above levels.

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Old City fire under control. Bob Brooks reports during Action News Mornings on February 18, 2018.

Residents of affected apartments and guests of the nearby Best Western Independence Park Hotel were evacuated. More than 160 people in total were evacuated, Thiel said.

The Independence Park Hotel tweeted, "Due to a 4-alarm fire at 239 Chestnut St early this morning, the @PhillyHotel is closed until further notice. Thankfully, no injuries have been reported. Thanks to the First Responders who worked swiftly to ensure no one was hurt. We'll update as soon as more info is available."

According to the commissioner, despite the fire alarm sounding, a number of people did not evacuate from their building.

"We had to go back into the buildings and tell people 'this is serious.' Despite the smoke, despite the fire alarm sounding, it's a serious thing, you never know what you're building is connected to, so we literally had people who were connected to the building that was on fire who had not evacuated," Thiel said.

A second alarm was sounded around 4:20 a.m. The fire reached three alarms around 5:11 a.m., quickly followed by a fourth alarm.
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Fire commissioner gives update on 4-alarm fire. Bob Brooks reports during Action News Mornings on February 18, 2018.

"We're getting a handle on it now. Looks like we managed to contain it to the building of origin," Thiel told Action News.

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Firefighters battle 4-alarm fire in Old City. Bob Brooks reports during Action News Mornings on February 18, 2018.

The fire was brought under control shortly before 7:30 a.m.

Patricia Benitez, who lives in the building on the corner, grabbed her child and ran out.

"It was full of smoke in seconds. I took my 2-year-old and went out," Benitez said.

No injures have been reported.

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Crews battle 4-alarm fire in Old City. Bob Brooks reports during Action News Mornings on February 18, 2018.

The Red Cross and Red Paw Relief were called to assist residents and their pets. According to Red Paw Relief, more than two dozen pets were affected by the fire, including nine cats and four birds who did not make it out alive.


A SEPTA bus was called to the scene for displaced residents.

The scene is across from The Museum of the American Revolution. Officials say the museum did not suffer any damage, but the museum is closed for the day.

There is no cause of the fire at this time.

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