PHILADELPHIA — A building that was being torn down collapsed with a thunderous boom Wednesday, raining bricks on a neighboring thrift store, killing a woman and injuring at least 13 other people in an accident that witnesses said was bound to happen.
Hours after the deadly accident, with the official death count at one, two body bags were removed from the rubble. Video footage taken at the scene showed authorities loading the body bags into ambulances. Telephone calls to the mayor’s office and to fire and police officials seeking information were not answered.
A woman was pulled from the rubble of the Salvation Army thrift store two hours after the 10:45 a.m. collapse when rescuers heard her voice, city fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said.
“We’re hoping that anyone that’s inside is in a void and we can have a live rescue,” he said. “If not, we’ll just take this apart a little at a time.”
Rescuers using buckets and their bare hands to move bricks and rubble were prepared to work through the night, he said, but shortly after the removal of the body bags authorities turned off the floodlights that had been shining on the rubble.
The woman who died was 35 years old, Mayor Michael Nutter said, but no other information about her was released. Officials said they would keep excavating to make sure there were no other victims.
He said officials from the Department of Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Administration were at the scene.
Survivors were taken to hospitals with mostly minor injuries, and some had been treated and released by evening.