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2 firefighters killed in Philly warehouse fire

Monday, April 09, 2012 | 11:29 AM    

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PHILADELPHIA, USA (AP) — A massive fire at an abandoned warehouse claimed the lives of two Philadelphia firefighters after a wall collapsed inside an adjacent building where the two men were trying to halt the fire's progress, officials said today.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said three other firefighters were injured in the collapse, which trapped fire personnel inside and required others to spring to their aid.

"We have two firefighters that have lost their lives," Ayers said outside Temple University Hospital. "We're asking for prayers for the families."

The firefighters, ages 60 and 25, were killed when the rear wall collapsed in a furniture store adjacent to the large brick warehouse where the massive five-alarm fire erupted around 3:15 am, Ayers said.

The fire engulfed the large warehouse in the city's Kensington neighbourhood early in the morning and raged for about two hours before being brought under control.

Flames poured from the windows of the multi-floor structure as fire personnel poured water on it from all sides. Hot embers from the main fire blew to nearby structures, causing small fires that damaged six homes.

Fire trucks lined the streets near the fire scene for hours after the blaze was brought under control.

Bricks and debris were scattered on the roads surrounding the fire scene, where much of the warehouse had collapsed. Much of the outer walls of the warehouse had crumpled to the ground by the time the fire was extinguished.

Firefighters who initially arrived at the scene encountered heavy flames with four additional alarms sounded soon after, Deputy Commissioner Ernest Hargett Jr said.

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