Firefighter dies battling Philadelphia blaze

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PHILADELPHIA A fire burned a fabric shop, upstairs apartments and a neighboring boutique Saturday evening, causing a partial roof collapse that killed a firefighter and injured a colleague who was trying to rescue him, officials said.

One firefighter was killed in the line of duty, Amy Daly, a nursing supervisor at Jefferson University Hospitals, told The Associated Press. The second firefighter was hospitalized with burns, officials told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The dead firefighter's name was not immediately released, but other firefighters said he held the rank of captain in a ladder company. His comrades saluted as his body was carried out and taken to the hospital.

The fire broke out around 5 p.m. at Jack B. Fabrics in South Philadelphia's Fabric Row section and spread to Urban Princess, a store next door. The stores' proprietors said everyone in both buildings at the time of the fire managed to escape.

The fire's cause wasn't immediately known, but fabric store owner Bruce Blumenthal said he believes it started in a wall and may have been electrical in nature.

Blumenthal said he smelled smoke coming from the basement and found a box of collars and cuffs on fire. He tried to put the flames out with an extinguisher, to no avail.

The fire cut power to more than 300 customers. The Red Cross is assisting at least 17 people.

The death comes about a year after two city firefighters died in when a building they were inspecting after an adjacent blaze collapsed and buried them in debris.

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