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June 21, 2022

Chinatown apartment fire causes evacuations, morning traffic delays

The roof of the building partially collapsed as firefighters fought the blaze overnight

Investigations Fires
Chinatown Fire Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management/Twitter

A fire began in a building near 10th and Race streets in Chinatown around 2 a.m. and was under control by 6:15 a.m.

More than a dozen fire crews responded to a two-alarm fire in Chinatown early Tuesday morning as smoke billowed into the streets.

The fire began around 2 a.m. in a building near 10th and Race streets and was under control by 6:15 a.m., CBS3 reports. There was so much smoke at one point that it was difficult to see down the street.

The building was evacuated minutes after the blaze began. Firefighters responded from a station located about a block away. 

One firefighter suffered a minor injury and was sent to the hospital. It's unclear how many people have been displaced, but the Red Cross and Salvation Army were on the scene to provide assistance.

The roof of the building partially caved at about 4:15 a.m. First responders still had a safety zone in place around 6 a.m. in case the rest of the building collapses, FOX29 reports

"Please avoid (the) area as apparatus and personnel have streets closed," the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management tweeted. "Be aware of residual traffic delays on surrounding streets."

The northbound and westbound lanes of Race Street are closed between Vine and Arch streets. Drivers can use Broad Street as an alternate route.

The building had a market on the bottom floor and apartments on the upper levels, 6ABC reports.

A cause for the fire has not been identified at this time.

The blaze came as the fire department was mourning the loss of Sean Williamson, 51, who died in a building collapse following a blaze in Fairhill on Saturday. Williamson spent 27 years as a firefighter. His funeral will be held Monday.

This article was edited after it was initially published.