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On Sunday night there was a five alarm blaze that ripped through a warehouse in my neighborhood. It was somewhat terrifying, especially with my neighbors screaming about it at 4 in the morning. Sadly, two firefighters perished and when I went to shoot some photos at 5 in the evening, the fire was still being hosed by trucks.

This is just one of the horrific downsides to the blight in Philadelphia which I have encountered since living here. The warehouse, which was once home to Thomas W. Buck Hosiery, was a disaster waiting to happen. Abandoned, deteriorating, and owned by people who owed thousands in back taxes. These ingredients seem to often add up to fires in the dark of night.

The problem with blight, no matter how fascinating, or strangely beautiful, is that eventually something needs to happen with the building. These structures aren’t meant to stand forever, and someone’s got to pick up the tab for their destruction.

Many of the photos I took are nearly apocalyptic. Smoke was rising through the decrepit structure with an overwhelming smell of burning wood in the air. Bricks scattered, with the metal frames of the windows mangled from the intense heat.

I am starting a new photo project called Decay: Philadelphia. It will highlight the blight and decay of the city. I will probably never be able to really capture it all, there is just too God damn much… but I thought this was an interesting way to start.

Thomas W. Buck Hosiery Warehouse- York & Jasper Streets
(Photos Property of Sincerely, Thompson)