Fire Damages Businesses, Shuts Down El

By Kelly Bayliss and Dan Stamm
|  Friday, May 9, 2014  |  Updated 8:40 AM EDT
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Firefighters still are unsure how a five-business fire started that also halted SEPTA El trains. NBC10's Christine Maddela reports from the scene on Front Street in Kensington.

NBC10.com - Christine Maddela

Firefighters still are unsure how a five-business fire started that also halted SEPTA El trains. NBC10's Christine Maddela reports from the scene on Front Street in Kensington.

Photos and Videos

Kensington Business Goes Up in Flames

A store fire in Kensington spreads to other businesses in the neighborhood Thursday night. NBC10’s Na’eem Douglas talked to the owner’s son.

Fire Rips Through Kensington Dollar Store

Neighboring buildings were evacuated and el service in the area was suspended. NBC10's Na'eem Douglas has more.
More Photos and Videos

Traffic and transit are expected to return to normal Friday a day after fire tore through a row of businesses next to SEPTA's Market-Frankford Line.

The fire that began in a Kensington dollar store spread to surrounding businesses, shutting down the Market-Frankford Line Thursday evening. Trains only began running again early Friday.

The fire broke out at Sophia's Gift and Dollar Store on the 2300 block of N Front Street around 5:30 p.m and quickly spread.

Firefighters ran into some trouble while trying to gain access to the dollar store and a second discount store, according to officials. Both buildings were closed and locked forcing firefighters to cut through gates.

Firefighters also had trouble fighting the fire inside a vacant store where they had to knock down boarded doors.

"We had a hard time gaining access to the buildings and there were a lot of combustibles in the buildings," said Deputy Fire Commission Derrick Sawyer.

All three stores have heavy fire, smoke and water damage. Firefighters continued to douse hot spots Friday morning.

The fire did not reach Kangs Jewelers, although the building did sustain smoke and water damage, according to fire officials.

The owner's son Jae Ma tells NBC10's Na'eem Douglas that he's just thankful that his family wasn't hurt.

In fact, no one was injured in the blaze.

A portion of SEPTA's Market-Frankford Line was shut-down because of the fire. Shuttle buses replaced trains between Allegheny and Spring Garden stations, according to SEPTA.

                                                                                                  Photo Credit: Jordan Baumgarten

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but the fire marshal is expected to launch a full investigation Friday.

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