Firefighters Respond to Philadelphia Building Collapse

UPDATE 5 a.m. EST: Five women and one man are confirmed dead, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. Mayor Nutter said that the bodies of all six were recovered in the Salvation Army store.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said late Wednesday night that rescue teams had about 40 percent of the Salvation Army building remaining to search. Nutter reiterated that officials do not know how many people were in the store at the time of the collapse.

Shortly after an 11 p.m. press conference, rescue workers found a woman buried under debris. Deputy Fire Chief Robert Coyne said that 61-year-old Myra Plekam was pulled from the rubble more than 12 hours after the collapse and that she was awake and talking to rescuers.

UPDATE 10 p.m. EST: The Associated Press ( reported that video footage showed two body bags being removed from the rubble, but Mayor Michael Nutter has reported only one death.

The scene at 22nd and Market streets is still active and dozens of rescue crews continue to search for possible survivors. At least 13 people were hospitalized at nearby trauma centers with minor injuries and listed in stable condition.

UPDATE: The Philadelphia Inquirer ( reports the one person was killed and 13 were injured this morning when a building collapsed in a busy commercial strip of Center City Philadelphia. The newspaper details that Mayor Nutter, speaking outside the collapsed building at 22nd & Market, describes the victim as a 35-year-old woman.

The Associated Press ( describes the scene as a “building that was being torn down collapsed with a thunderous boom … raining bricks on a neighboring thrift store.”

Rescuers pulled another woman, trapped amid the rubble of a Salvation Army thrift store, after they heard her voice, city fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said, and the search for survivors continued hours after the 10:45 a.m. collapse on the edge of downtown.

Rescuers used buckets and their bare hands to move bricks and rubble.

Survivors were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, Ayers said.

The collapse involved an empty building that once housed a first-floor sandwich shop and apartments above. The thrift shop was on one side. The other side was an adult bookstore and theater that had been taken down within the last few months.

Original Story: Philadelphia (PA) firefighters responded Wednesday morning to a building collapse with reports of multiple people trapped.

CNN reported ( that as many as 10 people are believed to be trapped in the rubble. The four-story building was located in the Center City neighborhood.

The collapse occurred at the intersection of 22nd and Market at 2140 Market Street–a four-story building collapsed onto a smaller building, a Salvation Army. Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers told the media that 12 people were rescued from the debris and were transported to area medical facilities. About 125 firefighters responded to the scene. As of 12:40 p.m., firefighters were still engaged in active search and rescue operations at the scene.

Video courtesy KSTC-TV.

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