Hidden fire strikes twice at a Germantown business

Two fires erupted within four hours of each other at a Germantown business early Friday morning, according to officials with the Philadelphia Fire Department.

Captain Jeffrey Thompson said four engines and two ladders were first dispatched at 12:38 a.m. to respond to a basement fire at Wayne Supermarket on the 5300 block of Wayne Avenue.

Firefighters contained the interior blaze about 30 minutes later, Thompson said, but at 4:23 a.m. four engines and two ladders returned to the three-story structure to respond to a wall fire. That blaze was contained 10 minutes later, said Thompson.

Later this morning, Ramon Perez, who owns the corner business, was working to access the damage and rescue the market’s perishable items from a cloudy, smoke-stained interior.

“I got things going bad that I need to move,” said a troubled Perez from an open doorway facing Coulter Street.

Perez said he was at the market when the fire broke. He saw smoke, but no flames.

Asked about the overall damage, Perez simply said, “I have no idea.”

Outside the market this morning, a few apparent employees were seen loading ice cream bars and other items into a white truck parked on the market’s front sidewalk.

The property’s owner, Stewart Traill, was also on hand to help. He said he was sound asleep when he heard someone banging on the front door, alerting him to the fire.

“I was down here in five minutes,” said Traill. “You couldn’t even really see the fire, but you could certainly see the smoke.”

Traill did see Perez, however, holding a fire extinguisher and searching for ways to attack the hidden blaze.

“He couldn’t really get to it,” Traill said.

Asked about the second fire, Traill said, “We had already started cleaning up and then boom.”

There are no reported injuries. It’s unclear at this time what caused either fire. Thompson said PFD is investigating both incidents.

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