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Philadelphia Building Collapses, Killing 6
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A building in the process of being demolished collapsed unexpectedly in Philadelphia on Wednesday, sending bricks and debris onto neighboring property and the sidewalk. Six people were killed and another 13 were injured. While no one was inside the building that actually collapsed, the building’s structure landed on a neighboring thrift store and landed on pedestrians using nearby sidewalks.

Speaking about the incident, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter said that one man and five women were killed in the collapse, but that authorities did not know how many people were in the store or on the sidewalk when the building fell.

  
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Since the collapse, which occurred at approximately 10:45 am, emergency workers have been working around the clock to remove debris from the site and rescue as many people as possible. While the total number of people that may still be under the rubble is unclear, a 61-year old woman was recovered safely from the debris more than 12 hours after the collapse. She was in critical condition, and rushed to the hospital. More that 75 percent of the site has been searched by rescue workers.

The four-story building that collapsed was located on Philadelphia’s prominent Market Street, and was in the process of being demolished. The building had been inspected before work began on the project, and was scheduled to be inspected again once the majority of the structure had been taken down.

CBS reports that civil engineers not involved with the project said that the collapse could have been prevented had a key wall been temporarily supported and the thrift shop should have been evacuated.

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Witnesses said that a crane removed a support beam from the building just prior to its collapse, and that the buildings fall sounded like a loud explosion.

Those working in offices near the site of the collapse told reporters that they have been worried about the demolition for some time. One roofer, Patrick Glynn, who was working on a building across the street told CBS that the project did not look safe. “For weeks they’ve been standing on the edge, knocking bricks off. You could just see it was ready to go at any time. I knew it was going to happen.”



A window washer working down the street said that he had called the city about the lack of safety during the demolition several times in the last few weeks.

The demolition contractor of the project was Griffin Campbell Construction, based in Philadelphia. Campbell has filed for bankruptcy protection twice since 2010, and he has been arrested for assault, insurance fraud, and selling crack cocaine near a playground.

Something obviously went wrong here,” said Nutter, who announced that the city will soon begin an investigation into the collapse.



 

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