Neighbors: Fireworks heard before devastating blaze
SOUTHWEST PHILADELPHIA - July 4, 2012 (WPVI) -- In Southwest Philadelphia a half-dozen families are spending the 4th of July out of their homes because of extensive fire damage.
More than 13 hours later, firefighters remain on the scene. What happened is when the roof of the building collapsed, it trapped fire underneath it. So crews have been out all morning long blasting water from all angles to make sure all the flames are out.
Many people have been able to return home but certainly not everybody.
The fire was reported around 11:00 Tuesday night. Fierce flames tore through a vacant Kingsessing storage facility that sits on the 5300 block of Pentridge Street.
Row homes surround the building, which stretches back toward 52nd Street. The Red Cross says around 70 people were evacuated from close to 30 homes - at least temporarily.
Nicole Crawford tells us, "I woke up all my children, and we got out. We ran, we stayed across the street."
Devin Wallace explains, "They made sure everyone was out of the houses, and that no one attempted to go back in the house."
Firefighters blasted water on the remains throughout the morning. Authorities say between eight and ten surrounding homes were damaged. Six families are staying at the Red Cross House - more were affected but haven't sought assistance.
PECO crews also responded to the scene since the fire burned wires and knocked out power to some of Pentridge Street.
Some neighbors recall that teens were shooting off fireworks before the fire broke out.
A man told us, "My aunt chased them away but they still came back and shot the fireworks off." And Nicole Crawford says, "All I can say is I heard fireworks."
There has been no cause ruled by the Fire Marshal.
philadelphia, southwest philadelphia, fire, local/state
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