Fire rips through 3 North Philadelphia businesses located near SEPTA tracks

ByTaRhonda Thomas WPVI logo
Monday, March 11, 2019

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A massive fire ripped through a North Philadelphia building Monday morning.

It broke out around 2 a.m. on the 800 block of West Sedgley Avenue.

Heavy fire was showing from the building when crews arrived.

The buildings contained a store, an insurance office and an auto body repair shop.

"We believe it started in the rear and a pile of tires and rubbish and then extend it into the building," said Philadelphia Fire Department Deputy Chief James Renninger.

Renninger said fighting the fire was a complex effort.

"It's actually complex of buildings that are irregular in dimension; there are firewalls in between some of them. That's saving the nationwide building on Allegheny Avenue," he said.

"The difficulty is we don't want to commit any personnel to being at an auto body shop if the fire has advanced to that point, we don't want to lose any firefighters; you can imagine the autobody shop has fuel chemicals and that explains why having my personnel in there could be hazardous."

The blaze is in close proximity to railroad tracks, but neither SEPTA nor Amtrak reported any delays.

"We're not concerned about the flames extending to the tracks. We're concerned about visibility for engines passing through the smoke and we have requested Amtrak and SEPTA to respond. They are on scene and aware of it," said Renninger.

With more than 60 firefighters on the scene, it still took hours to make sure that all of the flames were out.

Firefighters say no one was in any of these buildings when the fire started.

There have been no reported injuries at this time.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation

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