Philadelphia building collapses; people believed trapped

Published 11:17 am Wednesday, June 5, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — A building collapsed Wednesday on the edge of downtown, and the fire commissioner said as many as eight to 10 people were believed trapped in the rubble.

Dozens of paramedics and fire crews were on the scene working to find those trapped, city Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said. At least five people were taken to hospitals, officials said.

The collapse involved a Salvation Army corner thrift store and a four-story building next door with a sandwich shop on the first floor. It’s not clear whether any other adjacent buildings were damaged.

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A building that once housed an adult bookstore and theater was being demolished on the block, but officials on the scene didn’t say whether it is related to the collapse.

Witnesses said they heard a loud rumbling sound immediately before the collapse.

Rescuers were using buckets and their bare hands moving bricks and rubble to search for anyone who might be trapped.

The accident happened at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday on the western edge of downtown, between the city’s business district and its main train station.