22 People Hurt in High-Rise Fire

Morning blaze injures nearly 2-dozen, displaces hundreds of residents in North Philly

Nearly two-dozen people including firefighters and residents were injured in a Wednesday morning fire at a Philadelphia Housing Authority high-rise in North Philly.

The two-alarm blaze broke out on the eighth floor of the 18-story Norman Blumberg Apartments just before 6 a.m. on 24th and Jefferson Streets.

In total 22 people were hurt in the blaze.

Firefighter Mike McGuire was most seriously injured in the blaze, said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers. The 40-year-old was at HUP Friday night where he was being treated in a hyperbaric chamber.

By 8 p.m. the 5-year veteran of the fire department assigned to Company 27 was upgraded from critical to serious condition. 

McGuire previously served seven years in the Philadelphia Police Department.

Ten other firefighters suffered injuries ranging from minor to critical, fire officials said.

By late afternoon all but one of the firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries and released from area hospitals, according to officials. The remaining firefighter was being treated at Roxborough Hospital.

A dozen residents also suffered minor injuries including an adult female and two children. All the civilians were treated and released and are expected to be OK, said Ayers.

A faulty extension cord in a unit on the eighth floor started the blaze, officials said.

During the fire, firefighters evacuated about 150 people from the building, said fire officials.

By 8:30 p.m. most families were allowed back into their homes except for residents living on the eighth floor and the units directly above and below the apartment where the fire started.

The 21 adults and 10 kids whose units were uninhabitable would need to find shelter.

Jefferson Street was closed between 22nd and 24 Streets as authorities investigated what started the blaze.

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