Fire crews responded around 9:30 p.m. to reports that smoke was seen coming from the upper floors of a 19-story high-rise in West Philadelphia.
Officials said the fire originated in the trash chute on the first floor and traveled upward, causing heavy smoke to pour into the hallways on the top floors, Philadelphia's WPVI-TV reported.
WPVI-TV’s chopper camera captured video of a man climbing down story by story on the outside of the building until finally reaching the ground. The man was able to make his at least 14-story descent in less than three minutes, WCAU-TV, whose SkyForce 10 chopper also shot the scene, reported.
An unknown number of residents were taken away in ambulances. At least four residents and at least three police officers were treated for smoke inhalation, WPVI-TV reported. It was unclear as of Thursday evening if anyone died in the fire or if anyone suffered more serious injuries.