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3 dead in high-speed Northeast Philadelphia crash

A portion of Torresdale Avenue in the city’s Holmesburg section was closed on Sunday after an early-morning crash left three dead.

A portion of Torresdale Avenue in the city's Holmesburg section was closed on Sunday after an early-morning crash left three dead.

A black Chevrolet Camaro was speeding north on the 8100 block of Torresdale Avenue around 2:45 a.m. Sunday when its driver lost control and struck a parked tractor-trailer, according to preliminary police information.

Both the car and tractor-trailer burst into flames, police said. The occupants of the Camaro, three women in their early 20s, died on the scene. A witness reportedly heard their screams but was unable to enter the car and render aid.

Police had not identified any of the dead as of 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Live wires or leaked fuel is believed to have caused the flames to spread to a third parked tractor-trailer, which also became engulfed, police said. Both tractor-trailers were unoccupied.

The Philadelphia Fire Department said its hazmat team responded to the crash site due to reports of pesticides in one of two tractor-trailers that caught fire after the car hit the first tractor-trailer. Fuel spilled from the crash and flowed beneath another parked truck, causing it to become enflamed as well, authorities said.

PECO spokesman Ben Armstrong said the electric company sent a response team to the site in case it had to interrupt service, but he said the accident had caused no outages in the Holmesburg area.

A Comcast spokeswoman confirmed Sunday that the fire from the triple fatal accident in Holmesburg overnight severed Comcast fiber optical lines causing an outage in an area near the accident. She said Comcast does not have an exact number for how many customers lost service, only that the accident "took a number of our customers out of service." Some customers had service restored by 4 p.m. Yet at 5 p.m., she said the company was still working to get service restored to all affected customers.

No further information about the victims was released by police, pending a report from the Medical Examiner's office.

– Staff writers William Bender, Valerie Russ, Rob Tornoe, and Alex Wigglesworth contributed to this report.