Homeless Person’s Mattress Leads to High Rise Evacuation

By David Chang
|  Wednesday, Mar 6, 2013  |  Updated 8:05 AM EDT
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Smoke Causes Landmark Evacuation

NBC10.com

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Officials say a homeless person’s mattress caused the evactuation of entire historic high rise in Center City.

Fire officials say that around 8 p.m. on Tuesday a homeless person was lying on a mattress outside of the North American Building at 21 story high rise at 121 South Broad Street. Somehow their mattress caught fire and the smoke entered the air intake of the building forcing an evacuation.

Firefighters were called to the scene and were able to put out the mattress fire and ventilate the building. No one was injured and officials have not yet revealed how the mattress caught fire.

When the building was built in 1900, it was the tallest building in Philadelphia. It was designed by noted Philadelphia architect James Windrim for Thomas Wanamaker, son of John Wanamaker, the founder of the department store.

It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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