PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two Philadelphia police officers suffered minor injuries and more than a dozen people were evacuated due to an apartment fire in the city’s Spring Garden section Wednesday morning.
Firefighters and PECO officials arrived on the scene in the 1900 block of Spring Garden Street around 8 a.m., where they found a fire in the basement of the three-story apartment complex.
The fire reached two alarms around 10:23 a.m. after underground transformers exploded, causing a manhole cover to fly into the air. The power went out as a result of those explosions, and investigating officials also discovered that carbon monoxide levels were high, forcing residents to evacuate.
“We felt and heard a big explosion then came outside and saw that one of the manhole covers had blown off,” said one person who lives in the building.
“We saw it on the street, there’s — you know — the manhole cover…there’s chunks of it in the street,” another resident recalled.
Firefighters say the blaze was placed under control at about 10:45 a.m., but authorities say two police officers were taken to a local hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. They are listed in stable condition.
“The hallway was full of smoke, the front door was full of smoke,” says Anthony Flaviano, another resident of the building. “And I looked out…and it was just flames.”
Deputy Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer says homes within about a block radius were evacuated and residents were taken to a temporary shelter. As of Wednesday evening, some residents were allowed to return home.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and power outages should be expected in the surrounding area.