Philadelphia, PA Building Collapses, Jun 2013
PHILADELPHIA BUILDING COLLAPSES DURING DEMOLITION, KILLING AT LEAST SIX.
Philadelphia - A four-story building that was being demolished collapsed onto an adjacent thrift store in central Philadelphia on Wednesday morning, killing at least six people, city officials said.
One wall of the building collapsed about 10:45 a.m. during demolition work, sending bricks and other debris thundering into the Salvation Army store. Mayor Michael A. Nutter confirmed at a news conference late Wednesday that five women and one man, all found in the rubble of the thrift store, had died. He gave no further details about the deaths, and said a search was continuing.
One persons was pulled out alive after being trapped for more than 12 hours, said Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mr. Nutter. The survivor was taken to a hospital, but Mr. McDonald provided no more details.
Thirteen others escaped with only minor injuries, officials said.
The cause of the collapse, which occurred on Market Street near 22nd Street, was not immediately known. Several government agencies, including the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, will investigate.
The building's permits were in order, and no violations were listed against it, said Carlton Williams, Philadelphia's commissioner of licenses and inspections. He identified the owner as STB Investments of New York, and said city authorities had contacted the company.
A demolition permit for the building was issued in February, Mr. Williams said.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Nutter stood across Market Street from where about 125 firefighters searched piles of bricks, shattered
wood and broken concrete, and said it was "incredible" that some people had escaped relatively unharmed. The city's fire commissioner, Lloyd Ayers, said all were in stable condition.
"Search and rescue will continue until we have uncovered everything that we can possibly uncover," Mr. Nutter told reporters at the time. He described the search and rescue operation as "delicate, dangerous work."
Late Wednesday, Commissioner Ayers said rescue workers had about 40 percent of the debris remaining to search.
Despite severe damage to the thrift
store, two walls remained standing and some items of clothing were still hanging in the window facing Market Street as dozens of firefighters streamed in and out.
Mr. Nutter said the authorities did not know how many people had been in the thrift store when the wall collapsed. Asked whether it was rare to allow neighboring demolition, he said, "It's not unusual for people to be in stores or buildings next to demolition that's taking place."
Jordan McLaughlin, 18, said he had been walking on Market Street when the wall fell. "There was a big boom, dust everywhere, and the ground started to shake," he said.
Mr. McLaughlin, a high school student who had been dismissed early from school, said he had rushed to the scene and spent about 15 minutes trying to free people from the rubble before emergency crews arrived.
He said he had freed two women, one in her 30's and the other in her 60's. Neither appeared to be badly hurt, he said.
In comments to reporters, Mr. McLaughlin brushed off a suggestion
that he had saved the women's lives, "I just went to try to help people because it's the right thing to do."
New York Times New York 2013-06-06
List of the Casualties:
ANNE BRYAN, 24.
ROSELINE CONTEH, 52.
BOBOR DAVIS, 68.
KIMBERLY FINNEGAN, 35.
JUANITA HARMON, 75.
MARY SIMPSON, 24.