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At around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, a fire broke out in a transitional living home on 45th and Spruce streets, leaving two West Philadelphia residents injured. No students were harmed.

A 40-year-old man was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in critical condition, and a 61-year old woman, whose condition is unknown, was also sent to HUP.

Firefighters assisted three people to safety as the rest of the Transition to Independent Living residents stood on the 4500 block of Spruce Street.

By 8 a.m., the time the fire was tamed, three neighboring homes near the facility were also evacuated.

The American Red Cross was called to assist four adults with special needs who were searching for shelter, winter clothing and access cards for food.

Penn graduate student Chris Parro, who lives on the same Spruce Street block, said he did not know about the accident until later in the day.

“I’ve been out most of the day,” Parro said at the fire’s scene. “I know crime around here is suspect. I’ve heard about only a couple fires.”

West Philadelphia resident Esther Cheeves, who lives near the transitional home, walked out of her apartment Wednesday then quickly evacuated her animals after hearing loud “popping sounds” and seeing smoke pour from the building’s roof across the street.

“There have been fires in that building before.” Cheeves said. “Those were minor. I don’t know if somebody accidently set those off. This time it was a big one.”

Independent’s fire is one of several fires that have displaced residents in the neighborhood this winter. While authorities said the building’s smoke detectors were working, the cause of fire remains under investigation.

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