Devastating fire at Jim's Steaks on South Street caused by electrical wiring: Officials

"It smelled electrical, you know you can smell that," said Christina Lawlor, who was in the building Friday.

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Monday, August 1, 2022
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The fire was first reported around 9:15 a.m. Friday at the popular Philadelphia cheesesteak shop on the 400 block of South Street.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The fire that destroyed Jim's Steaks on South Street was caused by an issue with the electrical wiring, fire officials said Monday.

The fire was first reported around 9:15 a.m. Friday at the popular Philadelphia cheesesteak shop on the 400 block of South Street.

The fire reached two alarms before it was brought under control. Officials say it was a difficult battle because the flames were moving through the heating and air conditioning system.

Christina Lawlor was in the building Friday morning, opening Jim's Steaks for the day.

"I knew it when I walked in (Friday) morning something wasn't right because it was too hot," she said.

"I started smelling something. It smelled electrical, you know you can smell that," she continued. "So I'm like, 'something's not right.' We looked up and saw smoke coming down from where the walk-in is and it was smoke pouring down."

In all, the fire department says more than 125 personnel responded to the scene, along with nearly 60 vehicles.

"With us not being here it's hard on everybody," said Kenneth Silver, owner of Jim's Steaks.

Silver vows to rebuild.

"We won't know exactly what started the fire until the actual electrical investigators get in here," said Silver. "Structurally, we know the building is sound so at least we know we can rebuild."

Jim's Steaks South St. just celebrated its 46th year at the beginning of July, opening its doors for the first time in 1976.