2-alarm Chinatown fire under control, resident evacuated

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

A 2-alarm fire that forced evacuations in the Chinatown section of Philadelphia is under control though firefighters remain on the scene.

The fire broke out around 2 a.m. Tuesday at 10th and Race streets. It was placed under control around 6:15 a.m.

There is a fire station on the block and firefighters arrived at the scene soon after the flames started.

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Arriving crews evacuated the building, which is made up of five apartment units and a business, Lucky Market, on the ground floor.

Philadelphia Fire Captain Derrick Bowmer said the roof of the building partially collapsed around 4:15 a.m., after residents had already been evacuated. Fire crews moved back in case of further collapse.

Burning embers were flying leading crews to be concerned about the fire spreading.

An apartment building next door was evacuated.

The fire did spread to another building on the other side, but Action News is told there are no apartments in that structure.

Crews worked for hours spraying the flames with water at the rear of the apartment building as smoke filled the air in the neighborhood.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital with a minor injury. No other injuries have been reported.

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About an hour before the fire was declared under control, Captain Bowmer told Action News that crews were making good progress, but said “we’re going to be here for a while.”

Residents, including Kathy Nguyen and Jonathan Williams, did not know how intense the fire was until they came downstairs and saw the smoke and heavy flames.

“We went behind the building. We saw how massive it was,” Nguyen said.

“Initially, we were thinking if it was a prank, someone knocking on the door,” Williams said. “Then the fire alarm went off and we were both like ‘something’s wrong here.'”

Captain Bowmer said it’s a tough day as the department is still coping with the loss of one of their own. Lieutenant Sean Williamson, a 27-year veteran most recently assigned to Ladder 18, was killed during a collapse following a fire in Fairhill on Saturday.

“We’re dealing with the loss of our brother firefighter and this department continues to respond to seven or eight working fires a day,” Bowmer said.

There is no word at this time on how many people have been displaced.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Nguyen said someone knocked on their door. She said she knew something was not right.

“I just bolted with our cat. We were out the door,” Nguyen said. “I just put on my shoes, jacket, grabbed the cat and we were out in two minutes.”

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