Fire at abandoned church prompts evacuations in Kensington section of Philadelphia

KENSINGTON (WPVI) -- Fire damaged an abandoned church and prompted evacuations in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.

The flames broke out around 1 a.m. Thursday in the 700 block of East Cornwall Street.

Firefighters arrived to find flames coming from the first floor.

A second alarm was struck as the blaze spread to the second floor.

A number of area residents were evacuated as flames threatened nearby row homes.

It took crews about an hour to declare the situation under control.

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Church fire with evacuations in Kensington: Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at 4:30 a.m. on December 28, 2017.

Firefighters found 19 homeless people inside the church, apparently seeking shelter from bitterly cold temperatures.

They were receiving assistance from the Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross.

Action News has learned the church had been condemned and was scheduled for demolition.

Fire investigators are working to determine what sparked the blaze.

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