1 firefighter dead after Philadelphia building collapse; 5 other people saved

A firefighter has died after being trapped in a Philadelphia building that caught fire and collapsed early Saturday, firefighters said.

The fallen firefighter was not immediately identified, but Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said he was a 27-year-old department veteran. “It’s going to be a tough couple of weeks,” Murphy said at a news conference around 8 a.m

The building caught fire just before 2 a.m. Saturday, Murphy said. The fire had been extinguished, but then the building collapsed at 3:24 a.m

Four other firefighters and an inspector from the city’s Board of Licensing and Inspections were also trapped at the time of the collapse. A firefighter jumped from the rubble from the second floor, Murphy said.

The others were pulled out at different times. They were taken to the hospital and are said to be in stable condition. The inspector has since been fired. The deceased firefighter was pronounced dead at the scene.

Scores of firefighters stood nearby as the rescue effort unfolded, and some were seen hugging or wiping tears from their eyes, multiple news outlets reported.

“You can’t predict that,” Murphy told reporters at a news conference. “It was just a catastrophic accident that really hurt our department.”

Investigators are investigating the cause of the collapse. Murphy said the building was affected by the fire, but it’s unclear what caused it to collapse.

Mayor Jim Kenney said in a Twitter post that he “mourns with the members of the Philadelphia Fire Department and throughout Philadelphia who lost one of us in the line of duty today.”

Patricia Sermarini told the Philadelphia Inquirer that when she saw the alarm about the collapse, she rushed to the scene because her son-in-law, a firefighter, was on the morning shift. She said he was one of the firefighters on the scene but made it out of the building just before the collapse.

But moments later, Sermarini said, she saw firefighters pull a body from the rubble.

“It’s so awful,” she said. “It’s so difficult for her. They just want to go home to their families.”

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc7.com/philadelphia-firefighter-fire-killed/11973585/ 1 firefighter dead after Philadelphia building collapse; 5 other people saved

Laura Coffey

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