160 People Evacuated, 13 Animals Killed During Old City Fire

Around 160 people were evacuated during the fire though none of them were injured.

The morning after hundreds of firefighters battled an aggressive fire in an Old City building that houses apartments and retail stores, there were concerns of collapse.

The fire broke out around 3 a.m. Sunday on the sixth floor of 239 Chestnut St., across the street from the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, drawing about 400 firefighters, Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said.

"We grabbed our wallet, keys, my glasses, our shoes, our dog and literally ran downstairs," said Jenna Federico. "We felt all the smoke around us going down the stairs."

An Old City apartment fire left dozens of residents plus tourists staying in a nearby hotel evacuated early Sunday morning. Hundreds of firefighters worked for hours to gain control of the fire and were praised for their work as there are no reports of injuries. NBC10’s Randy Gyllenhaal has the details.

Around 160 people were evacuated during the fire though none of them were injured. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries but were later released from the hospital. Nine cats and four birds died in the fire, the Red Paw Relief Team said.

"We're going to be here for hours," Thiel said. 

Several tourists woke up the sounds of alarms and the smell of smoke.

The fire was later placed under control. The museum closed Sunday but opened on Presidents Day, urging visitors to expect traffic troubles in the area.

The neighboring Best Western Plus Independence Park hotel was also evacuated. Some people took shelter in a SEPTA bus brought to the scene as a temporary shelter.

"These guys were taking a beating early in the morning," retired firefighter Bob Folen said of the Philadelphia Fire Department.

Firefighters spent the overnight hours into Monday keeping people away from the damaged buildings. The entire area where the fire spread is considered a potential collapse zone. City inspectors will check to see if any of buildings are safe for people to return.

A massive fire forced dozens of people to evacuate in Old City early Sunday morning. NBC10’s Drew Smith has the latest on the investigation.
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