Frankford American Legion hall destroyed by fire

Four-alarm fire: Firefighters battle a blaze at American Legion Post 396 on Memorial Day. SOURCE: PHILADELPHIA FIRE DEPARTMENT / TWITTER

Memorial Day festivities at a Frankford American Legion hall ended in devastation as a four-alarm fire gutted the nearly century-old neighborhood institution.

Firefighters battled the explosive blaze at Post 396 on the 2300 block of Orthodox St. for more than two-and-a-half hours on Monday afternoon and were able to spare neighboring homes from damage. One firefighter suffered a minor wrist injury, fire department commanders said, while no civilian injuries were reported, although two homes were evacuated.

According to published reports, about two dozen veterans and their families were inside the hall shortly after 2:30 p.m. when one of them noticed smoke emanating from a dumbwaiter shaft. One of the attendees went upstairs and saw flames in the attic above the second floor. They evacuated the building and called 911.

Firefighters had difficulty accessing the two-story brick building and locating the source of the fire. When heavy fire conditions penetrated the roof and threatened neighboring homes, fire department commanders struck second, third and fourth alarms.

The blaze was declared under control shortly after 5:30 p.m., according to social media postings by fire department commanders.

One American Legion officer reportedly told 6ABC that the fire started in a motor in the attic. The city fire marshal is investigating the cause and origin. ••