The future of Philly’s legendary Jim’s Steaks may be in peril after a massive fire engulfed the iconic cheesesteak restaurant.
On Friday, firefighters spent about five hours trying to extinguish a two-alarm fire at Jim’s South St. cheesesteaks, the place is severely damaged.
According to the Philadelphia Fire Department, the fire was placed under control at about 1:33 p.m. Friday after firefighters began investigating smoke at the business at Fourth and South streets at about 9:25 a.m.
More than 125 Philadelphia Fire Department members responded to this fire. A clothing store adjacent to Jim’s was also damaged by the fire. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
Philadelphia Fire Department Commissioner Adam Thiel said during a press briefing that he's concerned about the structural stability of the building, though it remains too soon to fully assess the degree of damage. City property records indicate the four-story building was constructed around 1900.
Jim’s Steaks owner Ken Silver told 'the Inquirer' that the fire started somewhere in the shop’s HVAC system:
“They just couldn’t get to it right away. It was probably somewhere in some little space where those wires that were installed who knows how many years ago were.”
Assistant manager Christina Lawlor told '6ABC Philadelphia' that she noticed the air conditioner was malfunctioning when she first stepped into the building at around 7:15 a.m.
“I knew it when I walked in this morning something wasn’t right because it was too hot." Then around 8:30 a.m., she began to smell electrical wiring burning. “I started smelling something. It smelled electrical, you know you can smell that. So I’m like, ‘something’s not right.’ We looked up and saw smoke coming down from where the walk-in is and it was smoke pouring down.”
Lawlor said she told the shop’s staff to get out while she shut off the main circuit breaker box and called the fire department.
A lot of smoke coming from the back of the building. A Jim’s employee says they all got out safely. pic.twitter.com/PyZByWnD11
— Tim Jimenez (@TimJRadio) July 29, 2022
More details of this report from 'The Daily Wire':
Fire crews arrived on the scene at around 9:15 a.m. More crews were called to assist throughout the day as smoke enveloped the shop and a neighboring building. By 11:30 a.m., additional fire companies had been called to the scene to substitute for the first responding units who needed to rest after prolonged exposure to high temperatures outside. Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel told reporters that, in all, more than 125 firefighters, medics, and support personnel, and 57 vehicles were present at the site of the fire. The sheer amount of staff made the response the equivalent of a three-alarm fire.
Established in 1976, Jim’s Steaks is one of Philadelphia’s iconic cheesesteak shops, along with a handful of other establishments around the city. According to its website, Jim’s was named “Best of Philly” five times by Philadelphia Magazine, and is rated on the Zagat survey.
Silver committed to rebuilding the shop, a local institution. “Absolutely, absolutely. I owe it to my father’s legacy,” Silver said. “I owe it to the street and I owe it to Philadelphia. We are too important a business to go away and I truly view it that way.”
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