2-Alarm Fire Destroys 'Suit Corner' In Old City

2-Alarm Fire Destroys 'Suit Corner' In Old City

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PHILADELPHIA -

Raging flames destroyed an Old City business in just minutes Wednesday morning and left two firefighters injured.

Our cameras were rolling as dozens of Philadelphia Fire Department firefighters battled the blaze at the "Suit Corner." The store is located at the corner of Third and Market streets, just a few feet away from a piece of American history.

The fire broke out around 9:15 a.m. on the same block as FOX 29's studios, while "Good Day Philadelphia" was live on the air. During an interview, fire trucks rushed past our studio, and it didn't take long to see something very serious was happening.

Soon, the fast-moving flames were shooting out of the building and into the street.

Witnesses and neighbors were left standing in the street, watching the flames spread from building to building.

Gary Ginsberg, owner of Suit Corner, spoke to FOX 29 during the fire. He said he and his employees heard an explosion and they began running outside.

"I tried to get the fire out," Ginsberg said. "We had our extinguisher, but it was just too powerful. We all ran out."

They also called for a tailor working on the second floor to evacuate.

The 60-year-old Suit Corner business is a retail icon in the city. There were no customers inside the store at the time of the fire.

Damage was heavy to the Suit Corner. Neighbors in an apartment building next door either were not home at the time or were forced to evacuate.

The fire quickly raced to a second alarm at 9:42 a.m. as more than 75 firefighters with 22 pieces of equipment battled the blaze and heavy, choking smoke that could be seen for miles around the scene.

Hundreds gathered along Market Street as firefighters scrambled to get the roaring fire under control.

Firefighters cut holes in the roof to vent the heat and protect nearby buildings.

One firefighter was taken Wednesday morning to Jefferson Hospital with what officials described as minor injuries.

Then, a second firefighter was transported from the scene shortly before 4 p.m.

There's no word yet on a cause from the fire marshal or agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who were also at the scene.

The fire was placed under control at 10:37 a.m., but crews remained at the scene dousing flames and hotspots, including a significant flare-up right around lunchtime.

The site was still smoldering more than seven hours after the fire began.

As for the response time to this fire, officials say the first fire company arrived within three minutes of the first alarm.

Ginsberg said it looked like the fire began in his store's front window, but that has not been confirmed by officials. The business owner, who told us he just lost his mother three weeks ago, is vowing to rebuild.

A nearby historical site was spared from the flames. But the U.S. National Park Service says the Franklin Court courtyard, Benjamin Franklin Museum and Franklin Court Printing Office were closed Wednesday as a result of the fire.

Market Street is still shut down, but should be open for the morning rush hour.

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