A three-alarm fire gutted a large commercial garage in West Philadelphia on Monday, spewing thick black smoke into the sky, burning away the roof, and toppling brick walls.
No injuries were immediately reported in the blaze at the 100-foot by 200-foot building on the 200 block of South 59th Street.
Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said the fire was reported at 10:06 a.m. and escalated to a third-alarm in about 20 minutes, bringing about 120 firefighters and 50 pieces of equipment to the scene.
Directing multiple streams of water from above onto the burning structure, firefighters knocked down most of the flames by noon and the ground commander declared the blaze under control at 12:43 p.m.
Several brick walls collapsed and one of them fell on a residence, Thiel said.
He credited firefighters for preventing the flames from spreading to nearby residences, saying their actions stopped the fire from moving “all the way down the block.”
Students at Sayre High School, located across the street from the garage, were relocated to the Andrew Hamilton School at 5640 Spruce St. due to the smoke. A nearby day-care center also was evacuated, Thiel said.
Smoke from the fire could be seen for miles around.
Thiel said everyone was believed to have gotten out of the garage safely.
The cause of the fire will be the subject of an investigation that will begin after it is safe to enter the ruins. “We’re being very cautious with the walls,” Thiel said.