Fire damages South Philadelphia restaurant, apartments

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - February 21, 2014

Fire officials tell Action News the blaze broke out early Friday morning on the 3rd floor of the building that houses Hawthorne's Cafe in the 700 block of South 11th Street.

Ashley McGinnis and Kelly Lazor were sleeping when smoke alarms went off just after 6:45 a.m.

They grabbed their phones and coats from their 3rd floor apartment and evacuated along with their neighbors. The two watched as firefighters blasted water at what was their living room.

Witnesses later shared a picture with Action News snapped when they first saw the smoke.

When firefighters arrived and opened the roof, they saw how the fire had quickly spread. The flames were stubborn. It took crews about an hour to get the upper hand.

There were no reports of injuries.

Fire officials report that most of the fire damage is on the third floor and roof area, and each apartment underneath has some fire and water damage.

Deputy fire commissioner Derrick Sawyer told Action News water and smoke also damaged Hawthorne's.

He expects the restaurant will be closed for a time until cleanup work is complete.

Hours after the fire started, there was a bright spot when a firefighter reunited a 3-year-old cat named Pierre with its owner.

"I'm happy," said the owner, who did not want to be identified. "We have another cat in there so hoping they get him, too."

The Red Paws organization later located the other cat, Penelope, and reunited it with the owner as well.

An investigation into the cause is underway.

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