By Steve Tawa


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A multi-alarm fire has destroyed much of the more than century old Good Shepherd Presbyterian church in West Philadelphia.

More than 120 firefighters used some 40 pieces of equipment to bring the four-alarm blaze under control.

Overbrook resident Stephen D’Alessio was nearby when he heard approaching fire sirens.

“I actually smelled the smoke in my kitchen. I asked my mother, ‘are you burning something?’ I came out of the house and saw the flames shooting out the side of the church windows. It was scary.”

He was initially concerned because there was a daycare center in the back of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, but no one was hurt.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Robert Corrigan says it started in the basement. Once they determined everyone was out safely, the Incident Commander transitioned teams from offensive to defensive, to make sure nearby homes behind the church were protected.

But for a full two hours, during which it went to four alarms, smoke billowed from the collapsed roof at 65th Street and Lansdowne Avenue.

(credit: Steve Tawa)

(credit: Steve Tawa)