Fire crews are working to put out several hot spots this morning after a 3-alarm fire injured three people, including a firefighter, and destroyed a popular food market in Darby, Delaware County.
The fire broke out at the Liberia Waterside Market in the 800 block of Main Street around 6 a.m. Saturday.
The food market had vats of cooking oil that hampered the firefighters' efforts, according to authorities. Twenty-five residents in two nearby apartment buildings were evacuated due to the smoke.
"They were knocking on the door pretty aggressively to get them up to make sure everyone got out," said Jay Coleman of Darby.
Firefighters fought the blaze for seven hours, using water from Darby Creek.
"They had a problem with the water supply," said Darby Police Chief Robert Smythe. "I've been here for quite a while and I can't remember a time when we drafted water out of the creek."
Officials say the owner of Liberia Waterside was taken to the hospital and treated for a possible heart attack after seeing his business go up in flames. He is currently under observation at the hospital. Three other people, including a firefighter, were treated and released from an area hospital.
Tom Healy, the owner of the property which houses the market, says it's a miracle the fire didn't spread to other homes and businesses.
"There are five to six volunteer fire companies that are here," said Healy. "They're doing an extraordinary job and they're to be commended."
The store was completely destroyed and will have to be demolished, according to Healy. Investigators believe the fire started in a storage area but say there is too much damage to be sure.
Main Street was closed for several hours but it has since been reopened. Service on SEPTA Route 11 trolley line was stopped at Island and Woodland Avenues for most of the day. Shuttle buses were in service.
The American Red Cross is assisting 16 residents evacuated by the fire at the Darby Recreation Center on Ridge Avenue. Some of those residents won't be able to return to their homes, according to Sara Smith, a spokeswoman with the Red Cross.
"Caseworkers are meeting with those residents now to assess what needs they have," said Smith. "So far, two of those displaced will be staying at our one of a kind Red Cross house. The Red Cross still is not sure how many people will need lodging tonight. The reception center will remain open until at least 8 p.m. tonight."
The fire also caused power outages. Fire officials say up to 90 customers were without power through the night. Power has since been restored.