Over 100 firefighters battle West Philly auto body blaze

A three-alarm fire tore through a West Philadelphia auto body shop on Monday morning, shooting flames into the sky and creating thick smoke that could be seen for miles.

More than 100 Philadelphia firefighters responded to the fire at ABM Automotive, which is located at 59th and Irving streets in Cobbs Creek. No deaths or injuries were reported, but the fire caused extensive damage; walls of the building collapsed and prompted the evacuation of a nearby high school. Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel described the situation to local media as a “very dangerous operation.”

The fire broke out around 10 a.m. Monday, and took about 2-and-a-half hours to get under control, fire officials said. 

Early Monday, the fire department tweeted an image showing the smoke, and said, “We’re responding to a 3-alarm fire near 60th and Spruce in West Philadelphia. Due to the amount of apparatus in the area and for the safety of the public and first-responders, please avoid area.”

Around 10:30 a.m., a wall of the burning building reportedly collapsed onto cars in the area, and another wall fell onto a residential structure. Firefighters went for the flames on the outside after briefly entering the building. Water was doused all over the building and the surrounding areas to get the fire under control. 

The Fire department shared on Twitter that 125 firefighters responded to the scene, and used over 50 different apparatuses to battle the blaze.

Fire officials said the fire was finally subdued at 12:43 p.m., the fire was finally under contro.

NBC reports that the fire caused bricks to fall onto the sidewalk, causing concern for students attending nearby Sayre High School. The school’s 400 students were sent to Andrew Hamilton School, which is located a few blocks away at 56th and Spruce streets. Additionally, Tabernacle Lutheran Church daycare was evacuated, and  W.C. Bryant Promise Academy, which is located five blocks away, had an early dismissal due to some smoke blowing in the building. 

The cause of the fire was not immediately announced. Fire officials said the building had been empty when the fire broke out.

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