Flames gut a Juniata Park warehouse

April 21, 2008 6:48:32 PM PDT
Fire crews remained on the scene 14 hours after the blaze broke out. While nobody was injured, at least 20 people are out of their homes tonight while the massive cleanup gets underway.

The massive blaze in the Juniata Park section of Philadelphia leveled a warehouse and forced dozens of people out of their homes.

The first alarm was struck about 2:50 a.m. Monday along the 1300 block of Adams Avenue. The fire was declared under control shortly before 7:30 a.m., but a series of hot spots flared back up again.

Firefighters were able to save a nearby trucking company and a records storage facility from being destroyed, but they did suffer some damage during the massive fire. Officials are still trying to determine what materials were inside the abandoned warehouse.

When firefighters arrived they found walls of flame shooting up throughout the four-story structure.

Fiery pieces of the warehouse flew through the air and landed on the roofs of nearby homes.

Neighbors said the sky turned such bright orange, it was like daytime. The winds sent embers flying toward nearby homes. Then, flammable containers inside the burning buildings started to explode.

Firefighters poured water on the roofs while police evacuated dozens of people.

The Red Cross set up a temporary shelter for them at Hopkinson Elementary School on L Street.

The fire reached 7 alarms. 175 firefighters, combined with 50 pieces of fire equipment, worked to battle the flames.

PECO cut the power leaving about 1500 homes in the dark. By 7:30 a.m., about nearly 160 customers were without electricity.

Neighbors said the burned out warehouse was once a tool and die company.

The search for a cause goes on as the cleanup begins.