High-rise evacuation, bus crash cause havoc in Center City

Philadelphia fire department and medics work to remove passengers from the Route 21 bus that crashed early this morning at the intersection of 15th and Chestnut Streets.

A high-rise evacuation on Chestnut Street and a SEPTA bus crash two blocks away that injured at least six people caused havoc this morning in Center City.

At 4:20 a.m.  a carbon monoxide alarm went off in a fifth floor apartment in  a 14-story apartment building housing students from the Art Institute of Philadelphia at 1346 Chestnut Street, said Fire Department Capt. Rick Davison.

Arriving units found a carbon monoxide reading of 300 parts per million and evacuated about 650 people living in the building, Davison said. Three women were taken to area hospitals with possible carbon monoxide symptoms.

As emergency vehicles blocked traffic on Chestnut Street, students milled around in the cold air or sought shelter in two nearby classroom buildings.

At 6:30 a.m., a No. 21 SEPTA bus detoured from Chestnut Street because of the evacuation crashed into the corner of a building while turning at 15th Street.

SEPTA said at least six people aboard the bus suffered minor injuries and were transported to nearby hospitals for evaluation and treatment.

After the crash, traffic was blocked on Chestnut Street between 16th and 13th Streets.

As of 11:30 a.m., students still were not allowed back in the building, as Fire Department and Philadelphia Gas Works officials worked to find and correct the source of the carbon monoxide.

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