AP

Building collapse after fire kills 1 firefighter; 5 injured

Jun 18, 2022, 4:29 AM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 3:05 pm

Philadelphia firefighters work to rescue colleagues trapped in a row house collapse on the 300 bloc...

Philadelphia firefighters work to rescue colleagues trapped in a row house collapse on the 300 block of West Indiana, Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

(Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A building caught fire and later collapsed in Philadelphia, killing one firefighter and injuring five other people, two critically, after all became trapped early Saturday, authorities said.

The fire was reported just before 2 a.m. Saturday in the building in north Philadelphia, eight occupants were safely evacuated and the fire had been declared under control, officials said. At 3:24 a.m., the building collapsed, Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said.

Lt. Sean Williamson, 51, was pronounced dead at the scene after he and another firefighter were freed from the rubble hours after the collapse. Three other firefighters and an inspector with the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections had been freed quickly. One firefighter jumped from the second story to avoid being caught in the collapse, Murphy said. Two firefighters were listed in critical but stable condition at Temple University Hospital while the other three victims were treated and released, officials said.

Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel told reporters Saturday evening that rescuers “were able to communicate with” Williamson and another firefighter for most of the several hours they remained trapped, but because of the degree of the collapse and where Williamson was located within the structure “we were not able to save him.”

The former Marine was “highly respected throughout our department” and had trained “countless” cadets, Thiel said. Williamson is to have a “full honors” fire department funeral “and given the outpouring of support that I’ve seen and we’ve seen as a department, you can expect this to be a pretty large event.”

“We’re absolutely grieving, we’re mourning,” Thiel said. “We have a lot more crying and a lot more processing to do this unfolds as we move forward with properly honoring Lt. Williamson,” he said. Murphy had told reporters at a briefing at about 8 a.m. Saturday that: “It’s going to be a rough few weeks coming up.”

Mayor Jim Kenney called it “a heartbreaking day for our city.”

“For more than 27 years, he dedicated his life to serving and protecting the people of Philadelphia, and sacrificed his life protecting others,” Kenney’s statement said. “Early this morning, like every day, he exemplified heroism by doing what our first responders do every day: put on their uniform, leave their loved ones, and carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve the residents of this city.”

The fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire with assistance from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Thiel said an engineering investigation into the collapse is also ongoing and the federal National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health is also expected to do an investigation, and that and the department’s own after-action report are expected to take one to two years.

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

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

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

“It’s so terrible,” she said. “This is so hard for them. They just want to get home to their families.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

22 hours ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

24 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

3 days ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

3 days ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

3 days ago

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Building collapse after fire kills 1 firefighter; 5 injured