Firefighters battle six-alarm blaze in Frankford


Scenes on a Frankford block mirrored the Disney film Frozen, with a few segments of Backdraft mixed in as Philadelphia firefighters overcame a six-alarm blaze that apparently began inside an auto body shop on Saturday morning.

About 150 firefighters battled flames and frigid conditions for four-and-a-half hours near Griscom and Orthodox streets before the fire was declared under control. They remained at the scene through the night and into Sunday afternoon dousing potential hot spots, according to a report.

Water from firefighters’ hoses quickly froze in the frigid temperatures, coating buildings, cars, utility poles and wires, the street, the Market-Frankford El and emergency responders in icicles and layers of ice. Official temperatures ranged from 14 to 24 degrees throughout Saturday.

An official cause and origin of the blaze had not been determined on Tuesday, but authorities said at the scene they believe it started at Joe’s Auto Body, 4619 Griscom St., and spread to more than a half-dozen nearby businesses and residences, largely due to high winds.

During the response, one firefighter became “disoriented” and transmitted a “mayday,” according to He was taken to Temple University Hospital in stable condition, according to published reports. One woman and a young child were also hospitalized for precautionary reasons with undisclosed medical complaints.

The American Red Cross reported that 21 residents were displaced by the disaster. Initially, they were directed to a warm shelter at Marshall Elementary School. Later, they were relocated to the Red Cross House in University City and other lodgings.

SEPTA shut down El service north of its Erie-Torresdale Station on Saturday as firefighters attacked the blaze from Frankford Avenue.

The Frankford Historical Society, at 1507 Orthodox St., is on the same city block as the auto body shop, but was spared damage as winds blew the fire eastward toward Frankford Avenue and away from the society’s headquarters, according to Jim Young, president of the society.

Properties on the adjacent block of Frankford Avenue house the local branch of the Free Library, a grocery store, a thrift store, a beauty supply store and a Mormon church. Overington House, a transitional agency for women and children, is around the corner on the 1500 block of Overington St. ••


Fighting the elements: Water from firefighters’ hoses quickly froze in the frigid temperatures on Saturday morning. After four-and-a-half hours, the fire was declared under control. SOURCE: PHILADELPHIA FIRE DEPARTMENT