PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The only activity in this section of the Old City Historic District is flashing police lights at 3rd and Chestnut signaling the road is closed. It's been five days since a fire destroyed a building on the 2200 block of Chestnut Street and the cause is still unknown.
"This is really a shock," said business owner Bob Selva because the future of business here is also uncertain. Officials plan to shut down some streets in the area on Monday for a week while crews begin demolition. Bob Selva owns ABI Quick Shop which is a souvenir store on 3rd Street.
"If it's one week or two weeks that's ok but otherwise I don't know what to do," said Selva. His store and others on the opposite side of 3rd Street from where the fire happened are allowed to stay open.
But they wonder if streets being closed will keep a lot of customers away.
"Actually, we get a bit busier during the lunch but that's probably because a couple businesses are closed," said Okky Manoppo of Café Square one. Still he’s concerned.
"That could be a problem but as I said before we don't know that for sure yet so I would like to stay positive for the time being," he said. The Little Lion restaurant sits right on the corner of 3rd and Chestnut. It shares a wall with the buildings that took in the fire.
"I think the latest was they said maybe two weeks that they will allow us to begin assessing damages and look inside a little bit more thoroughly," said owner Chris Younge. He predicts he'll be closed for at least two months which will be rough on his nearly 80 employees.
"We did reach out to the restaurant community and almost 40 restaurants responded and offered a magnitude of jobs to our staff temporarily which is really remarkable," said Younge. He’s remaining optimistic.
"We'll be back and will definitely be looking to add to the city again," he said.
The cause of the blaze remains unknown.
Chestnut between S. Bank and S. 4th Streets; Elbow Lane between S. Bank and S. 3rd Streets; S. Bank between Elbow Lane and Chestnut Street; and S. 3rd St between Elbow Lane and Walnut Street will remain closed to traffic at this time. Additional temporary road closures may become necessary during the demolition process to allow for movement of heavy equipment.