Walking up 3rd Street in Old City, it looks like a bomb went off.
A two-alarm fire ravaged the Suit Corner on Wednesday morning, leaving the colorful Old City shirt store a charred husk. Firefighters got the blaze, which was reported around 9:15 a.m., under control at 10:37, though they were still finding hot spots. Portions of the Suit Corner buildings were still burning well after 11, but the blaze was not in danger of spreading.
NBC 10 reports Suit Corner employees think the fire started in a display window. One fire fighter, 41, was injured and was taken to Jefferson for treatment.
Gary Ginsberg, the owner of the suit corner, told reporters his family has owned the store for 60 years. “It’s a catastrophe,” he said through tears. The store was not open when the blaze broke out; Ginsberg said all his employees escaped the building without injury. The second floor of the four-story portion of the Suit Corner had a tailor shop, and the upper two levels were unoccupied. The person inside the tailor shop, presumably the tailor, escaped unharmed.
Deputy Fire Chief Eric Fleming said firefighters do not believe there were fire or smoke alarms in the buildings, which dates to the 19th century. The Suit Corner is in two buildings — a single-story at 300 Market Street, and a four-story building next door. Fire officials said the blaze reached all four stories. Attempts to reach Roberta Weinstein, owner of the building at 300 Market Street, were unsuccessful.
Firefighters responded to the blaze in three minutes, Fleming said. Just last month, an under-demolition Shirt Corner — caddy-corner from the Suit Corner — collapsed while being demolished.
The roof of the one-story portion of the Suit Corner collapsed while firefighters battled the blaze. Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said 100-plus fire fighters were on the scene. Ayers said the closing of the nearby Old City firehouse — which had its own fire last September — would not really have affected the way the blaze was battled. Fire fighters would have arrived on scene about a minute earlier were the fire station still open, Ayers said.
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