Philadelphia Firefighter Dies and Others Trapped in Building Collapse

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PHILADELPHIA — A building collapsed in Philadelphia early on Saturday morning, killing one firefighter and trapping several others and a building inspector, the Philadelphia Fire Department said.

Many of those trapped were rescued and taken to hospitals, the department said. But a 27-year veteran of the department was pronounced dead at the scene, and two other firefighters remained trapped as of Saturday morning, the department said.

The inspector was from the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections, the Fire Department said.

The collapse occurred in the Fairhill section of North Philadelphia. On Saturday morning, at the intersection of 3rd Street and West Indiana Avenue, a pile of brick, lumber and broken drywall lay at the building site.

The collapse happened during a fire response, but the nature of the call was not immediately clear. It was also unclear what caused the collapse.

Elliott Lopez, who lives nearby, said the building was a pizzeria and that he was at the restaurant at about 11:30 p.m. Friday. He said he was alerted to the fire and subsequent collapse of the building by a phone call from his brother, who had seen a report of the incident on Facebook.

“I was here last night, bought a pizza, and they’re calling me at 4 o’clock in the morning to say the pizzeria was on fire,” said Mr. Lopez, 55, standing a few yards from where the building’s rubble lay in the street. He said he arrived at the scene early Saturday to move a car that he had parked at the intersection and found that it had already been moved by emergency workers.

Several agencies were responding, including the Philadelphia police, the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, Philadelphia Gas Works, the energy company PECO and the American Red Cross.

In a statement on Twitter, Mayor Jim Kenney said he was grieving with the members of the Fire Department and all city government employees “who lost one of our own in the line of duty today.”

“We will continue to provide updates about this tragic incident when we have them,” he added.

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