Dozens of people displaced after Frankford fire

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Philadelphia fire investigators are trying to figure out what caused a blaze that gutted a Frankford apartment building early Tuesday morning.
 
Hours after the last flames were extinguished, we found Tyrone Cole wrapped in a Red Cross blanket, nursing burns to his head and hands, but feeling lucky to be alive. 

"All my stuff is gone," said Cole. "I don't have no clothes. Sneakers, nothing."

Cole was among nearly 2 dozen people inside the apartment building at Frankford and Sellers when it went up in flames around 4 AM Tuesday. Cole says he was asleep in a third-floor apartment when he heard screams and headed for the window to await rescue. Questions race through his mind: 
 
 "If I was going to die or not. If they were going to get there fast enough to help me.  I thought I was going to have to jump out the window."

The wait seemed like forever, but firefighters were actually on scene within minutes, saving Cole and nearly a dozen others. Lizandra Perocier says the fire began in her second floor apartment, though she is not sure how. Tuesday afternoon she was allowed to briefly go inside to see what might be salvaged. The answer? Nothing.

"Ashes. Everything is gone," she said through tears.  "I don't know what else to say-- it's just, everything is gone."

Perocier got out with her boyfriend and her three sons, the youngest of whom is just two years old.

"I was worried about everybody else inside," she explained. "I intended to go back in to try to help them but I couldn't because I had my son in my arms! So the only thing I was able to do is scream from the outside that there's a fire."

Despite the extensive damage to the building, only nine people were injured--  none of them seriously. 
That news brought a smile to the face of Souhail Balech, a Lebanese pizza shop owner whose restaurant has anchored this building for nearly half a century.
 
His reaction to the news that all had escaped without serious injury?
 
"Thank God- that is a good thing," said Balech. "That's the only thing we were worried. Everything can be replaced but when you get hurt nothing can be replaced."
 
FOX 29  was unable to reach the building owner-- Frankford Holdings, LLC, of Lakewood, NJ-- for comment.
City inspectors say the structure had been cited for fire code violations numerous times over the past several years, though each violation appeared to be resolved and each case closed.
 
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