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(Update) Smoke still billowing from Suit Corner fire in Old City, eight hours later

shirt corner fire philadelphia Firefighters on the scene of a three-alarm fire at the Shirt Corner building at 3rd and Market Streets in Old City. Credit Charles Mostoller/METRO

A two-alarm fire at The Suit Corner shop in Olde City broke out before 9 a.m. Wednesday and was still filling the block with smoke as of 4:45 p.m.

"it's the worst type of thing to catch fire," said Lucien Lewis, 43, who sells stone carvings in the area. "That was the clothing spot. ... That's a lot of suits, and a lotta lotta lotta stuff up in flames."

Eight employees were in the store when the fire broke out, reports say. Flames were still licking up from the roof at 1 p.m., and Market Street was closed between 2nd and 4th streets as firefighters kept water on the structure.

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One firefighter said they had no choice but to let the fire burn itself out, as entering the building would be too risky.

"When I got to the top of the block, it was real smoky. It looked like the block got blown up," Lewis recalled. "There was a little girl lying on the ground, I guess she sprained her ankle. There was smoke everywhere, and fire engines. I was like, 'It's going down!'"

One firefighter required medical attention but no other injuries occurred -- except for the loss of the building, the last remnant of the Suit, Shoe, Pants, and Shirt Corner stores.

"There was no explosion -- just the fire coming out," said Rev. Boyzell Williams, 64, who was nearby when the fire started.

"I'm saddened because I was gonna buy a suit there next week. I've been going there since 1973," Williams said. "To me, that's a landmark going up in flames ... That's a piece of history."

Philadelphia Fire Department Captain Clifford Gilliam said the 50-year-old business' building's roof collapsed. "I would say that building is destroyed."

The cause of the fire was unknown and under investigation, he said.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

 
 
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