A Salvation Army Thrift Store collapsed in downtown Philadelphia on Wednesday, killing six and injuring 14 with its rubble, but authorities caution that those numbers could increase as the search for bodies continues.
The collapse occurred at 22nd and Market Streets in the Center City district of Philadelphia, a popular business and residential section of the city that possesses most of the skyscrapers in the area. As crews worked to demolish a building next door, an event occurred that caused the building to fall onto the Salvation Army, which collapsed into a pile of debris, trapping an unknown number of shoppers and pedestrians on the adjacent sidewalk in its rubble.
It is not yet clear what caused the scheduled demolition to go awry but one construction worker said he saw a crane remove a support beam just before collapse. Another witness said it appeared that a backhoe hit the back of the building at about the same time as the collapse. Witnesses have indicated that the wall of the building to be demolished that was closest to the thrift store began to fall to the side and that the wall was what actually hit the Salvation Army.
Since the collapse, rotating fire companies have been working constantly to sort through the debris to look for victims and survivors. So far, 14 injured have been found and taken to area hospitals for medical treatment. An additional six people, five women and one man, have been found dead.
Much of the wreckage remains to be sorted and cleared, meaning there is a potential for an increase in the number of casualties. Of those who survived, it is not yet apparent whether any have life-threatening injuries. Hope remains high for the survivors, though, especially as rescuers managed to pull a woman 12 hours after the incident. The woman was alive and able to squeeze the hands of her rescuers and could even speak to them as they were working to free her.
Buildings need to be demolished to make way for new construction and progress in cities and demolitions are a relatively common event. There are very strict guidelines that must be followed and procedures that must be adhered to when an owner or the city wants to remove a building and safety is always the biggest concern. Demolitions are dangerous for the men and women working on the sites but as this incident shows, anyone in a neighboring building or even walking along a sidewalk can be at risk if something goes wrong. This is likely to be true in densely populated areas because the buildings tend to be more numerous and are close to one another, creating greater risk that a demolition will negatively affect the area structures.
If you have been injured in a building collapse or construction incident, call the Illinois premises liability lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today at (312) 924-7575. We offer a free telephone consultation with no obligation and you will get to speak with a licensed lawyer when you call. Call us now and let us help you get a recovery you deserve.
Prior Blog Entries:
Driver Faces Reckless Homicide Charge for Crash that Killed Bicyclist, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 5, 2013.
Cab Driver Cited in Fatal Crash with Pedestrian near Midway Airport, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 3, 2013.
Crews search for survivors day after Philadelphia building collapse, by Dave Warner, Reuters/Chicago Tribune, published June 6, 2013.