Fire forces evacuation of apartment building in Old City

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Fire forces evacuation of apartment building in Old City. Bob Brooks reports during Action News at noon on January 20, 2019.

An early morning fire in Philadelphia's Old City section forced people out into the streets.

The call came in around 3 a.m. Sunday for a fire on the 300 block of North Front Street.

When crews arrived to the scene they found intense flames and thick smoke.

They tried to go inside, but it wasn't safe.

"There has been a partial collapse on the second floor and it's dangerous conditions for fire personnel to go into the building," said Assistant Fire Chief Richard Davison.

Crews had to rely on pumping in as much water as they could.

"We went into a defensive mode. What that means is our companies are on the exterior of the building, and we're providing fire suppression from the exterior," said Davison.

Action News spoke to a neighbor who saw the flames burst through the roof.

"The whole thing was up, we opened up the street view, and you could see a good portion of the building is gone, I mean we were talking some tall flames," said Griffin Ripley.

Others living nearby were glad fire crews were able to prevent the flames from spreading.

"It's a bit scary. It's like a few doors down. All we knew it was the 300 block and we're on the 300 block, so we didn't know how we'd be affected," said Brendan Kennedy.

Officials say the flames were contained to the building where it started, but residents on both sides of it also had to be evacuated.

Luckily, no one was hurt.

Though the flames were put out, firefighters have spent the last few hours soaking hot spots so they don't reignite.

Most of what is inside the building is destroyed.

No word yet on what caused the fire.

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