Old City Fire Statement From THE LITTLE LION & Demolition

Old City Fire Statement From THE LITTLE LION & CITY OF PHILA About Demolition

Good afternoon,

We are very saddened by the news this week about the four alarm fire at the buildings near 3rd and Chestnut Street in Old City District. We represent both Old City District and the large restaurant on that corner, The Little Lion.


Below please find an official statement about the fire and the restaurant from the owners of The Little Lion.

“As you may know, The Little Lion was affected by the four alarm fire in Old City in the neighboring buildings to us on the Chestnut Street side of our restaurant. Our hearts go out to the numerous neighbors, tenants and visitors that were displaced, as well as to the owners of the pets that lost their lives in the fire.
While the fire itself was in the neighboring buildings, The Little Lion is greatly affected as we share a common wall and various elements of the building with the buildings that contained the fire.
As of this week, The Little Lion will be temporarily closed for an estimate of at least two months. We have not been formally allowed inside the restaurant to access the damage, begin drying out and making repairs. The last information we have is that the buildings near us are also still in a collapse zone.
We had hoped to have more information by the end of the week, but as of now we don’t have more information to offer and we hope to gain access next week. What we do know is that there is significant water damage to at least one if not both of the kitchens, the mezzanine and the basement level. We sustained major water damage to the back half and lower levels of the building – but the final look at damage will happen in the coming days. City and fire officials are focused on the safety and stability of the neighboring properties at the moment, and during that period we are waiting patiently.  Again, we do not have more information and hope to have more updates to share next week.
While we are temporarily closed, we want to take good care of our amazing Little Lion family and staff. We have over 80 employees and we are seeking temporary placements for them at fellow restaurants, bars and other businesses. We have had a number of generous offers and other restaurant leaders are stepping up to help – and we are working day and night to work with them to help our team.
We are thankful to everyone involved in the fire from the fire department, the American Red Cross, city officials, Red Paws and all other agencies involved.
This is definitely not the last roar for The Little Lion – we will be back and be better than ever. We will simply be hibernating for a period of time while we access and make repairs and fix our historic space. We poured our heart and soul into bringing new life to this corner of 3rd and Chestnut – and we have been honored to host thousands each week for dinner, drinks, brunch, anniversary parties, receptions, weddings. We have been so fortunate to share so many memories with our patrons and guests – and we look forward to hosting those occasions in the near future. We aim to try to open in time for Mother’s Day and late spring wedding season, but once we are inside we can give a better sense of timing.
Please stay tuned as we will host a Old City Fire Relief Benefit for The Little Lion employees while they are out of work – we will announce details on Monday. We will also support Red Paws during that event as this fire affected so many companion animals, a cause important to our owners’ and team members’ hearts.
For anyone with temporary positions or wants to help offer our team jobs, please contact me direct at or 267-971-9341.
Thank you for all the well wishes, calls and emails. We will start posting updates on social media next week to keep you in the loop – and we will post our fundraiser information at that time. Thank you in advance for your help.
Chris Younge and Jason Dills,
Owners, The Little Lion
Demolition of Chestnut Street Fire Building to Preserve Historically Significant Cast Iron Façade
Where it says B&B is incorrect, it’s actually a private home. I know the people who live there. I shot a party there before they bought it. Here’s the link to see inside this fabulous space. Sorry pixs are a little dark, I was new at this back then, I had no idea what photoshop was.

PHILADELPHIA – The Department of Licenses and Inspections has announced plans for the demolition of 239 Chestnut Street, where Sunday’s four-alarm fire originated.

In the aftermath of the blaze, L&I had determined that the structure was “imminently dangerous”.  Although the building was almost entirely destroyed in the fire, much of the Chestnut Street façade, while unstable, was still standing. L&I and engineers from the firms Keast & Hood and O’Donnell & Nacarrato have since discovered that original brownstone construction remained beneath the plaster-covered façade. The inspection team concluded, however, that the brownstone is severely deteriorated and could not be salvaged.  The two engineering firms donated their expert services at the request of the Preservation Alliance of Philadelphia.

L&I will salvage the first-floor façade of 239 Chestnut, which — unlike the rest — is made from cast iron poured into molds. In addition, L&I has arranged for Langan, an engineering and consulting firm, to perform a 3D laser survey of the building façade today.

“By fully documenting the structure’s exact dimensions and detailing,” stated L&I Commissioner David Perri, “this survey will be instrumental in informing an appropriate design for reconstruction of 239 Chestnut Street.”

Before 239 Chestnut Street can be demolished, 237 Chestnut, also heavily damaged by the fire, must be stabilized to make the demolition process safer and to avoid further harm to its structure. The owner of 237 Chestnut St. has begun preparing the building for the necessary shoring work.

Demolition of 239 Chestnut is expected to begin during the week of February 26th and will likely take at least a week to complete.

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.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.