Residents Escape Massive Philadelphia Fire

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Fire swept through an abandoned warehouse early Wednesday, collapsing the roof and forcing about 100 residents to evacuate nearby homes, authorities said.

Eight other properties and two parked cars caught fire. About 170 firefighters fought the blaze in the city's Kensington section, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said.

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Firefighters rescued a man from the second floor of the building, Ayers said. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

The fire broke out shortly before 4 a.m. and spread quickly through the five-story brick building, a former textile warehouse, officials said. The cause had not been determined.

One resident escaped from his row house with his wife and grandchildren before it was gutted by the blaze. J.B. Green, 53, said he first smelled smoke, then saw flames outside his bedroom window.

"I was scared, and I had to get five grandchildren out of the house," Green said. "I was thanking God for seeing another day."

A towering plume of smoke was visible from nearby Interstate 95 and other morning rush-hour routes. Commuter service was disrupted as trains were passed through a nearby station without stopping and two bus routes were detoured around the area, according to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Service had returned to normal by midday.

Power was knocked out to about 200 customers, according to Peco Energy Co.

One firefighter was taken to a hospital in stable condition, said fire Capt. Richard Davison, who would not elaborate on the firefighter's injuries.