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Apartments Above Popular South Philly Restaurant Damaged In Fire

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A fire heavily damaged several apartments that are located above a popular restaurant in South Philadelphia Friday morning.

The fire started shortly before 7 a.m. inside a building located in the 700 block of South 11th Street in the city's Bella Vista section.

When firefighters arrived, they encountered smoke and flames billowing from the building. The fire traveled quickly through the roof, which made it difficult for firefighters to contain the fire.

"It was a little bit challenging because the dwelling is actually a multiple use occupancy, three story, restaurant with apartments on top. Approximately eight apartment units," Deputy Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said.

The fire was placed under control at about 9:15 a.m.

"It was a little bit challenging that they had multiple roofs from the property that they renovated, so it wasn't just one roof that made it difficult to get to the fire in the roof initially," Sawyer explained.

The building is a combination of apartments and retail, including Hawthornes Café, which is located on the bottom floor. Fire officials said most of the apartments sustained fire and/or water damage. A total of eight residents were displaced.

Sawyer said Hawthornes Café sustained water damage.

There were no reports of any injuries to residents or firefighters.

"They had an alarm system which operated, which enabled everyone to get out safely," Sawyer said.

Traffic is being diverted away from the scene and a SEPTA bus route is being detoured.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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