What to Know
- The fire started at the junkyard on Tulip and Somerset streets Tuesday night around 8:30. Several crushed cars and tires caught fire.
- The large flames and plumes of black smoke could be seen throughout the city until the fire was brought under control around midnight.
- Smoke continued to billow from the scene through Wednesday morning.
Firefighters battled a massive fire at an auto salvage junkyard in Philadelphia's Kensington section through the night and into the next day.
The four-alarm fire started at the junkyard on Tulip and Somerset streets Tuesday night around 8:30. Several crushed cars, tires and wood caught fire.
"A lot of the trains are close to it and a lot of chemicals and stuff, which is why it's an issue," Jim Fox, a volunteer firefighter, said. "There's tires in there. It's a big pile of cars that's right there. The gasoline and tanks and stuff like that."
In Photos: Massive Junkyard Fire in Kensington
The large flames and plumes of black smoke could be seen throughout the city. It continued to pour into the air during the Wednesday morning commute, slowing traffic in the area.
Aramingo Avenue between Lehigh and Allegheny avenues was closed and the thick smoke coming off the fire caused southbound traffic on Interstate 95 to slow as traffic backed up to the Betsy Ross Bridge.
Firefighters brought the flames under control around midnight as they poured tens of thousands of gallons of water onto the blaze. Two firefighters suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
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White smoke continued to rise past 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. A strong smell and thick haze hung over the entire area into the early afternoon.
Karl Koener of the Clean Air Council is monitoring potentially hazardous smoke particles.
"They're very, very small, smaller than the size of your hair and they get into your lungs and they can cause breathing problems, health defects," Koener said.
Officials have not yet revealed how the fire started. Licenses & Inspections has an open court case against the scrap yard for a lack of compliance to repair fencing, over collecting tires and mislabeling containers. The judge had given the scrapyard owner time to make repairs, the City said in a statement to NBC10.
"While none of the violations directly related to issues that could have caused a fire," Philadelphia said. "The City was exceedingly concerned with the excessive storage, which, if there was a fire, could lead to a more intense and substantial conflagration."