A crowd gathered outside Lorenzo and Sons Pizza early this afternoon
to mourn a South Street landmark consumed by a blaze that burned for
over an hour before firefighters could stamp it out.
"The building was difficult to ventilate," Deputy Chief Joseph McGraw
said. "There's no access from the rear and no vents in the front. We had
to cut a hole in the roof to get the fire under control."
He said 65 firefighters and emergency medical services personnel
responded to the call shortly before 10:30 a.m. The three-story building, which also houses several apartments, was extinguished at 11:45 a.m. One firefighter suffered a non-life-threatening
injury to his left knee and was treated at Hahnemann University
Owner Giuseppe Pulizzi was at the bank making a deposit when he heard
the news. "I just got a phone call," he said as he watched firefighters
file out of the still-smoking shell this morning. The shop's blackened interior could be seen from the street through several large openings cut in the facade, beheading a mural of namesake Lorenzo Pulizzi.
"A worker called me
saying there was smoke coming from the exhaust," Giuseppe Pulizzi said. "He tried putting it out
with a fire extinguisher, but black smoke kept coming out."
Pulizzi said his first fear was for his dog, which was upstairs on the second floor. "I ran up, got the dog out, grabbed a t-shirt and put
it over my face," he said. By then, the smoke had become overwhelming.
"A firefighter told me to evacuate the building and get everyone out."
Lorenzo's has been a mainstay of the ever-changing corridor since 1988. The takeout joint is famous – or
infamous, depending on who you ask – for its gargantuan slices and rigid rules. Regulars can recall the paper signs reading "Toppings on slices – don't even think about it!" that graced the walls for years.
Open until 3 a.m. on weekdays and 4 a.m. Fridays and
Saturdays, Lorenzo's is also a popular after-hours spot, with lines known to wrap around the block after bars let out, flooding the streets with hungry hordes of grease-craving party people.
"I've been going there for 15 years," said Tina DeCarlo, who works
nearby. "I'm bummed. Where else am I gonna get pizza at 2 a.m.?"
"Anytime I hit up South Street at night, I stop in," Mark
DiGiambattista said. "I guess I'm not getting pizza today," he added
But late-night slice lovers can rest easy. Though Pulizzi was not yet
allowed inside to assess the damage early this afternoon, he said Lorenzo's
will reopen regardless. "That's not an issue," he said. "We'll do it as
soon as possible – we've got a lot of loyal customers."
[View the story "Polarizing pizza: Philadelphians react to fire at Lorenzo and Sons" on Storify]
Polarizing pizza: Philadelphians react to fire at Lorenzo and Sons
News spread through the Twitterverse like wildfire (pun totally intended), ranging from genuine shock and sadness to genuine joy and celebration, interspersed with a heaping portion of bickering and plenty of bad jokes about drunk college nights and rude cashiers, served up Philly-style.
Storified by Alex Wigglesworth · Wed, Jun 27 2012 16:38:45
@neezyFbabyyy Lorenzo's on fire is easily our country's greatest disaster ever. Makes Katrina look like a water gun fight.lil kirbs
@CaseFacePrice told me 2 hours ago that Lorenzo's burnt down and I am still in shock. The drunk fat person inside me is very very sad.Erica Bates
@UrbanFrenzy7 THAT'S MY MOST FAVORITE PLACE EVER ! I'M GONNA NAME MY SON LORENZO HAHALu Reyes
RIP Lorenzo's. You were the best part of 3 am.The Menzingers
Somebody tried to order a pepperoni slice at Lorenzo's and all hell broke loose. #TheFire #TheRoots http://bit.ly/LgRmVhJoseph Cranney
Lorenzo's catches fire today giving everyone the opportunity to prove that they hate Lorenzo's pizza more than the next guy. I'm impressed.haveboard
Guys, Lorenzo's burnt down. I don't even have a joke for it. It just sucks. I love that place.Tim Montgomery
It's sad cuz I love their pizza & so did my dog. She would ONLY beg for Lorenzo's! Will miss those huge $3 slices!!!k.a. barber
They have a security guard packing but not a smoke detector, damnit Lorenzo'sS.
wow. Lorenzo's caught on fire this morning nooooo. the fire was as big as their slices #badjokejake rasmussen
Lorenzo's.. WHYYYY??!??!!!? #lorenzos #saddayBrooke Smith
Who's starting the "Rebuild Lorenzo's Fund"..I'll donate. We need this place back by September.Sweet Ass Bridget
Am I the only person that doesn't care about Lorenzo's burning down? I'm going to get a lot of shit for this but that pizza blows.deanna nicole
Lorenzo's was a lot like prison in that it always felt like it was moments away from a race war and I think you had to get beat in for pies.Tim Butterly
So I just read that Lorenzo and Son's Pizza on South St had a really bad fire and is burned up pretty bad... DAMN... NOOOOO...DASH Sr
So fucking sick about lorenzo's being caught on fire and now closed #heartbrokenRandy Hughes
The 19 year-old piss-drunk at 2am version of me is completely demoralized that Lorenzo's burned down.Teddy Unleaded
Oh no #Lorenzo's pizza :(blair cetlin
For the first time ever, Lorenzo's pizza was not undercooked. #lorenzosBrendan Kennedy
Some sweet pizza humor: Authorities say that the fire was so large, they had to fold it in half. #Lorenzo's - Chip Chantry #riplorenzosplastycat
Glad Lorenzo's caught fire. Those guys are assholes.Gour
Wait Lorenzo's is on fire !!! No!!!!!!Kenar Williams
Anybody like Lorenzo's pizza on south street? It's burned down -__-T.Chin
Lorenzo's??? Say it isn't true!!will noon
FOR GOD'S SAKE, SOMEBODY SAVE LORENZO'S!Sean Blanda
stay hot, Lorenzo's...you's are on fireAnthony DeMeo
Lorenzo's pizza caught on fire?! There's only like 20 other pizza places on South Street, what will we do!hannaH
Finally my Lorenzo's pizza won't be all doughy. I hear they are finally cooking them all the way thru today #lorenzosAaron Witz
99.9% of my visits to Lorenzo's were for lunch, where I'd stand in the back and awkwardly watch my reflection shove pizza into his face.Ed Skirkie
People actually give a shit about Lorenzo's? I hope an actual pizza shop opens in its place. #wahhh #whitepeople #pizzaisASS #OPINIONSAaron Ditro
#pause where am I gonna drunkenly go for bomb slices now?? Rip Lorenzo's=(Ann Lam
Lorenzo's is burning! Burning! What a world, what a world! Who could destroy the beautiful wickedness!?Amanda Elsewhere
Well Lorenzo's caught on fire, what's the point of living in Philly anymore?heather
RIP Lorenzo's </3angela.
I refuse to believe Lorenzo's is burning down! Twitter always killing sun1 u will not kill Lorenzo!!!E
sad sad sad day for philadelphia Lorenzo's Pizza burn down :( i might cryMike Russell
I will personally cut off the limbs of whoever burnt down Lorenzo's. Now I have no reason to be friends with @rrrachCamille
Are you from Philly? Do you love Lorenzo's Pizza as much as I do? Well then we're both fucked cause it's currently burning down.deadbeatfriends
I'll just go ahead and say Lorenzo's makes shitty pizza. #truthluke_hardison
Its a sad day in the hood Lorenzo pizza store caught fire on south stB_STAR
NOT LORENZO'S! :(:(:(:(Diane Pizzuto
Jim's is a drug house and Lorenzo's burned down. What the fuck am I suppose to eat??Matthew Marano
Sad day for chubby drunks in Philadelphia! Lorenzo's is a blaze! #3AMLorenzo'sRon Cornwall
Why did they take Lorenzo's, I love their pizza:(Tamar
Ate pizza for lunch as my own quiet tribute to Lorenzo's.J T. Ramsay
LORENZO'S IS ON FIRE. Worst day ever. World must be ending.lil kirbs
Sooo 24 square miles of Colorado is burning and 32,000 people have been evacuated. But Philadelphia! Lorenzo's pizza is burning!!!JACKIE
Hopefully Santucci's just firebombed Lorenzo'sRy Fillman
Love it or hate it, our prediction is Lorenzo's will rise again like a mighty Philadelphia cockroach.Foodustry
Lorenzo’s pizza isn’t even good shut up you out of town weirdosMike Fink
Lorenzo's is burning. Its a sad day for diarrhea.Joe DeCarolis
Lorenzo & Sons is burning down. They should try being really rude to the fire.Dave de la Vergne
Good riddance on Lorenzo's , any pizza place with a gun-toting door guy needs to go the way of the dinosaurs.tonymont
Lorenzo's noooooooooooooooo!!!Shawn Ryan
So I guess Lorenzo's is on fire? Maybe they were trying to fully cook their pizza for the first time ever. #lorenzosLou Perseghin
Lorenzo's is on fire? Oh noes, where will i get my giant, mediocre slice of pizza at 330 in the morning this weekend?Micheal Dubh
Lorenzo's pizza is on fire. #NNNOOOOOOOOOOPeteyOtotheD
If this fire causes me to never ever in my life have a slice of Lorenzo's pizza, I will go and burn that place... Oh wait... #toosoonDavid Blakk
I've seen some jokes about the fire at Lorenzo's. Fuck you if you are joking about it. One Fireman is already hurt. Fire is serious shitJen J Walker
Seriously so much Lorenzo's hate right now. Y'all know nothing about the art of sliceMichael Donovan
Listen jerks. Lorenzo's pizza doesn't suck. You're just not drunk enough when you eat it.JoPincushion
Mako's is closed, Lorenzo's is burning. My whole world is crumbling around me.Susie Lauterborn
NOOOO IF LORENZO'S IS DEAD IM KILLING MYSELFLauren McDonough