THIS JUST IN: Phillly International Catches Fire


INQUIRER: A strong fire swept through the Broad Street offices of Philadelphia International Records today, causing extensive damage to the celebrated music company where Chubby Checker recorded “The Twist,” and where songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff developed their soulful Philadelphia sound. Investigators, who arrived on the scene four minutes after the 7:28 a.m. alarm, were working yesterday to determine the cause of the blaze. They immediately escorted an unidentified man from the three-story building on the corner of Spruce Street, across from the Kimmel Center. He was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital with minor injuries, and was being questioned, said Battalion Chief Derrick Sawyer. He would only describe the man as “an adult male.” The fire began on the third floor, in Philadelphia International’s main offices, where dozens of its gold albums adorn the walls. Sawyer said that firefighters made a special effort to save the memorabilia, even as they cut through the roof to attack the spreading flames. “This is part of Philadelphia’s history,” he explained. “One of the few things we have are our memories.” The fire was brought under control in 57 minutes. MORE

DAILY NEWS: When firefighters arrived, they found a man hanging out of Gamble’s office and screaming for help, he said. Firefighters used a ladder to rescue the man, who was transported to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries. The man, whose identity and age were not released, was questioned by police and the fire marshal. He was released “for now,” though the investigation is ongoing, Ayers said. Gamble said no one should have been in the building at that time. He said he’d heard that other people had been seen running out of the building and managed to get away. MORE

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