"We are blessed no one got hurt. We can rebuild," the pastor said.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A three-alarm fire tore through a Catholic school in Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon.
The flames broke out around 3:45 p.m. at the Our Mother of Consolation School located on East Chestnut Hill Avenue.
Chopper 6 was overhead as heavy fire consumed the attic, roof and classrooms. The blaze was so intense that it caused the roof to collapse.
"It quickly became apparent the fire was deeply embedded in the building, so we had to evacuate the building to prevent our members from being injured in collapsing structure components," said Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.
It took about 120 firefighters to get the blaze under control just after 5 p.m.
According to Thiel, all students of the Our Mother of Consolation School have been accounted for.
Thiel says one firefighter was taken to an area hospital for minor injuries. No other injuries were reported.
Teachers with the after-school program say there were around 35 students between Pre-K and 4th grade at the school.
They say they're thankful for the warm weather. When the fire was spotted, they were already outside.
"We had to take them across the street because the building exploded, not literally exploded, but flames suddenly started coming up," said teacher, Hailey DeMarko. "We're really grateful for everybody, like the neighbors around here. One let us all into her house. Another neighbor brought Rice Krispies Treats and juice."
Action News is told the 5th through 8th-grade classrooms were destroyed.
It's still unclear what started the fire.
On Tuesday night, in a letter to school families and parishioners, Pastor John Fisher and Principal Patricia Sheetz said classes will shift online for now.
"In order to provide for continued instruction, we will shift to our remote learning plan as soon as possible. We have already been in contact with senior administration from the Office of Catholic Education's elementary division. Together, we are working to identify potential locations in proximity to our parish where the children can begin attending class again in person. Our hope is to finalize those plans as soon as possible and we will update you when the picture becomes clearer."
But despite the pain of seeing the dramatic damage, Pastor Fisher says things could have been a lot worse.
"We are blessed no one got hurt. We can rebuild," said Fisher. "We can restore a building, but not a life. So we put this in God's hands."