Foam fills Philadelphia streets after substation incident

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Sunday, December 4, 2016
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Firefighters responded to a hazmat situation in Center City Philadelphia, where a massive amount of foam covered an entire city block after it leaked from a PECO substation.

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Firefighters responded to a hazmat situation in Philadelphia, where a massive amount of foam covered an entire city block after it leaked from a local power company's substation.

Several calls were made to police after 1pm Saturday reporting explosions inside a building around the 400 block of South Juniper Street.

Crews arrived to the find the fire suppression system had released a large amount of foam.

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Pictured: Chopper 6 over a foam spill and hazmat situation in Center City.

They say there was a problem at a PECO substation, which caused a power outage, and then the foam began appearing.

"There was a fire alarm going on and I didn't really think anything of it, and then I was just chillin' in my bed and I heard this huge explosion," said Mark Deluca, witness.

"Then all of a sudden what looked like giant soap bubbles started floating down in front of our house," said Karen Saillant, witness.

A neighbor captured cell phone video from his balcony. In it, an explosion can be seen, causing him to drop the camera.

At this time, fire officials say they're still investigating exactly what happened inside the substation.

We're told the foam system inside triggers to prevent any fire from spreading, and that it fills up the entire building immediately.

That's why when crews first opened the doors it came gushing out, in some places 6-7 feet high.

"It was a little bit scary because there were a lot of them and there was a lot of wind," said Saillant.

The good news is there are no reports of any injuries to residents or firefighters - just a lot of foam.

"There were just like two holes in the side of the building and it just kept spewing out," said Deluca.

PECO officials say 2,500 customers temporarily lost power. It has since been fully restored.

As a result of the power outage, there were several elevator rescues in the area.

Fire officials say they pushed the foam and washed it away into the sewage drains, and it is not toxic or environmentally harmful.

The intersection is closed while police investigate.

Stay with Action News and as more information becomes available.