PHILDELPHIA (CBS) – Hundreds of people were evacuated from a center city Philadelphia office building this morning after an electrical fire erupted in a utility closet.

The fire, in the former Strawbridge’s building at 8th and Market Streets, snarled traffic and disrupted the morning commute for many.

Workers were just arriving about 8 a.m. at the 14-story building that now houses state and federal government and private business offices.

“The alarms went off and we were evacuated,” said one woman.

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workers wait outside loeb Small Center City Philadelphia Office Fire Makes Big Commuting Problems

“In our agency, there’s 650 people that we had to get out,” said a man standing on the sidewalk.

Was it scary for him?

“Nah, I didn’t see any smoke or anything but they had hoses, fans, and stuff.  The whole fire department went in,” he said.

Fire officials say the electrical fire was small but it created big transit problems, as Market Street was closed from 7th to 10th in the midst of the morning rush hour, forcing the detour of not only cars but New Jersey Transit and Septa buses.

Market Street reopened about 9 a.m.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060

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