Portion of Castor Avenue remains closed after large fire in Juniata

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A portion of Castor Avenue remains closed Wednesday after a large fire destroyed a pharmacy and a laundromat on Tuesday afternoon.

Fire crews left before midnight but police remain on scene shutting down the roadway on the 3900 block of Castor Avenue in the Juniata section of the city.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said the roadway will remain closed through the morning rush and through most of Wednesday, as officials are still working to clean up the area and remove the contents of the Pharmacy of America building.

Pharmacy of America owner Sabri Ibrahim directs patients in need of their prescriptions to one of the store's other locations, where he says they will be able to receive their medications.

"There will be nobody having to wonder whether they can receive their medication," said Ibrahim.

Workers from Philadelphia Gas Works were at the scene in the early morning hours of Wednesday as well.

The two-alarm blaze that caused this large clean-up effort broke out on Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters responded around 4:15 p.m. to Castor and Erie avenues. Chopper 6 was over the scene where the flames were raging out of control.

Officials said the fire was placed under control just before 5 p.m.

The fire department says it's too early to tell what sparked the flames.

Jeyca Ocasio was in the laundromat as things unfolded. She says she heard an explosion from the roof.

"Something dropped through the roof and up in flames it went. Everyone got out," she said.

Ocasio is just one of many employees who work inside the laundromat who said they heard an explosion.

They said after hearing the noise something fell through the ceiling and went up in flames.

"Everybody got out safely and that's the best thing. That's just material stuff in there," said employee Maria Gomez.

Commissioner Adam Thiel says he's proud of the response time and happy to report no firefighters were injured battling the flames. They had to do so in the oppressive heat Tuesday.

"It's tough to do that. The gear doesn't breathe, so it gets pretty hot quickly," said Thiel.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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