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article imageVideo: Building collapses in Philadelphia, 2 feared trapped

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jun 5, 2013 in Environment
A building collapsed in downtown Philadelphia Wednesday morning. Local fire officials digging through the rubble say they fear that people are still trapped inside it.
NBC Philadelphia reports that authorities say they have rescued eleven people and that at least two people remain trapped beneath the rubble.
Lloyd Ayers, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner, said fire crews were working to rescue survivors.
Corey Vey, who works in the area, told NBC Philadelphia: "There are firemen, police, construction guys digging out because I believe people are down there. It's crazy right now."
Vey was driving down 22nd Street when the building collapsed: "I've never encountered anything like this before anytime in my life, and I don't want to see it again. I feel really lucky. That brick landed in my passenger seat. Lucky for the rainguard on my window that saved me from getting hit."
The collapse involved a two-story Salvation Army thrift store and a four-story building next door at 22nd and Market Streets. According to ABC Action News, it appears that the 4-story building, which reportedly once housed a sandwich shop on the first floor, was being demolished. When it collapsed, debris fell from it onto the Salvation Army store, bringing down a section of it, including a row of other attached buildings.
The collapse occurred around 10:30 a.m. Rescue workers reportedly arrived at the scene at 10:43 a.m.
According to NBC Philadelphia, Bernie Ditomo, a truck driver, said: "I was parked on 21st just heading to Market Street, next thing you know it felt like an earthquake. I said, 'What the hell is going on?' My truck is totaled. I am a little dusty and dirty, but I’m alright. I am one of the lucky ones."
According to CNN, Ari Barker, who arrived at the scene after the building had collapsed, said: "I was in my office in the high rise across the street and felt and heard a rumbling, a very unusual sound."
Another witness, Jordan McLaughlin, told a CNN affiliate that the building "collapsed the wrong way and landed on a thrift shop." He said there were people inside the thrift shop.
Witnesses said they saw at least two people being taken away in stretchers. Rescue workers were digging through the debris, assisted by two pieces of heavy machinery, NBC Philadelphia reports
University of Pennsylvania Hospital spokesman Stephen Graff, said four people rescued from the collapsed building were undergoing treatment at the hospital, CNN reports.
Gianna DeMedio, Hahnemann University Hospital spokesman, said two other patients were being treated at the hospital.
According to ABC Action News, Mayor Michael Nutter has appealed to pedestrians and drivers to avoid the area to allow rescue work continue unimpeded.
Captain Jeffrey Thompson of the Philadelphia Fire Department told Reuters: "We are checking the debris, looking for any victims at this time."
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