Philadelphia International Records is Philadelphia’s true historical asset; you can forget about any cracked bell or old torn parchment. The orange shagged studio is where Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, and other R&B stars birthed the Sound of Philadelphia. And while a fire on February 21st destroyed 40% of the buildings’ memorabilia, the legendary recording space miraculously survived.
The fire, which started just before 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, ignited on the third floor. An unknown man was treated for burns, but was released uncharged. Officials aren’t quite sure how the man had gotten into the building, and neither does co-owner Kenny Gamble, who said the man had no business with the company or any of the owners and went on to add that the venue is normally locked down like “Fort Knox”.
As for damage, several gold and platinum records had been destroyed, but the identity of those hadn’t yet been discerned. The owners assured that the company’s 10,000 masters are fine, however, as they are stored safely in a secondary facility. The studio had suffered some damage, but employees mentioned most of it was soot from smoke damage.
In the meantime, temporary offices have been set up elsewhere and has been fielding calls of support from across the globe. Fire officials have began an investigation and a ruling could be made as early as this week. While no cause has been named, Fire Commissioner Lloyd M. Ayers said the blaze was “suspicious.”
We’ll have more details as they’re released.