Fire in renovated apartment building forces neighbors out

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Firefighters are trying to figure out what caused a multi-alarm fire Monday night in a vacant apartment building in North Philadelphia. 

The fire was reported shortly after 8:30 p.m. inside a four-story apartment building under renovation in the 1600 block of West Oxford Street. Within an hour, the fire had become so intense that several neighbors were evacuated from homes and apartments. 

One of those who got the order to leave is Keesha, who lives right across the street.

“Started from a real small fire,” she said. “And the next thing you know, the top of the roof was on fire and they were banging on the doors telling everybody they had to evacuate.”

Keesha, her two daughters and her grandson found shelter with family members who came to get them. They came back briefly Tuesday morning to pick up clothes, because it’s the first day of school.

The Red Cross says it provided services to 25 people, but most later sought shelter with friends or relatives.

The fire also resulted in a power outage affecting several blocks around the scene.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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