South 11th Street in Reading reopens after warehouse inferno

3-alarm fire on April 2 destroyed 4-story building

South 11th Street in Reading reopens...

READING, Pa. - More than a month after fire left an abandoned warehouse in ruins, life is returning to normal for residents of the surrounding neighborhood in Reading.

One lane of South 11th Street, between Spruce and Chestnut streets, has reopened to traffic. The 200 block had been fenced off as a safety zone until the charred building could be torn down.

"We had to go every which way but loose, but now it's good," said neighbor James Cummings.

The other lane of South 11th Street remains closed, with a chain-link fence continuing to surround the site as a demolition crew proceeds with the cleanup process.

The three-alarm fire on April 2 destroyed the former Letisse Ladies Handbags warehouse, leaving behind only a charred and unstable shell of the four-story brick building.

The threat of collapse brought about the need for immediate demolition, but officials said the property's current owner couldn't afford the work. That forced the city to take matters into its own hands and hire a wrecking crew to do the job as safely and as quickly as possible.

Investigators have been unable to determine the cause of the fire, but they told 69 News on Tuesday that they will be releasing more information next week.

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