Firefighters battle 3-alarm blaze at West Philadelphia carpet business

WEST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Firefighters responded to the scene of a three-alarm fire at a carpet business in West Philadelphia.

The blaze started around 9:30 a.m. Saturday near the intersection of 62nd and Arch streets.

Officials say heavy flames and smoke were showing when crews arrived.

"By the time I got off the phone, it was an inferno! It was an inferno that quick!" said witness Wayne Christian.

He says he was working on the house next door when he looked out and saw the building was up in flames.

Cell phone video captured the moments just before crews arrived. The flames were growing quickly.

Christian says there was one man inside.

"I kicked on the door and he got out," he said.

But he says whoever that person was didn't stick around the scene very long.

"He didn't even hang around. He's not even around right now," said Christian.

It took firefighters almost three hours to get the blaze under control.

With high winds and so many homes nearby by, it could have spread and got ugly fast.

"Absent the great work by our firefighters, everyone of those homes would be on fire right now. This would have been a real catastrophe, so they just did an incredible job," said Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.

He says several of the row homes nearby do have heat damage, and about 20 residents are now displaced.

One of them is a woman named Sekina and her daughter.

"I was down in Center City, and my daughter called me and told me that the house was on fire, and she was trying to retrieve the stuff from in the house, but they told her she couldn't go in," said Sekina.

While crews battled the flames, all she could do is watch.

"We're waiting to see what's going on," said Sekina.

The owner tells Action News he operated a carpet business out of the building. He says the whole thing was full of carpet, and that meant a lot of fuel for the flames.

The Red Cross is providing food, clothing and shelter for displaced residents.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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