Six people - one man and five women - are confirmed dead after a building collapsed near 22nd and Market streets yesterday morning.
At least 13 more were injured as they were pulled from the bricks and rubble spilled across the busy Center City strip.
Mayor Michael Nutter said the area is still very much an active search-and-rescue site to find any more people who may be trapped and to begin cleanup efforts.
Around 10:45 a.m. today, emergency workers responded to a commercial 4-story property at 2136 Market Street, which collapsed onto the neighboring Salvation Army thrift store at 2140 Market Street, causing that property to partially collapse.
The 4,200 square-foot former retail store was in stages of demolition. City officials said they still don't know what caused the collapse.
Only a few hours after the incident, the body of a 35-year-old woman was pulled from the debris. Others were pulled out by emergency officials and passers-by. Thirteen were brought to area hospitals. One official with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania said the patients treated there had "relatively minor injuries."
"I ask that all Philadelphians and all who care to keep that person and her family in your prayers," Nutter said at a 6 p.m. press conference tonight. "Second, we pray for the speedy recovery of the 13 individuals who were able to get out of his potentially incredible tragedy that could have taken place here today."
Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said search and rescue operations at the site will continue for at least 24 more hours to look for more possibly trapped in the rubble.
Ayers also said dogs are on scene to help in rescue efforts.
Dan Gillis, a construction worker from Cinnaminson, N.J. who was working across the street, told Reuters he saw a crane remove a supporting beam from the front of the building. Then, the wall next to the thrift store started to sway, he said.
Several eyewitnesses said they thought the construction site was unsafe. One onlooker said it was an accident waiting to happen.
Carlton Williams, commissioner of the Department of Licenses and Inspections for Philadelphia, said the site had all the permits needed for demolition. The owner is Richard Bosciano with STB Investments. Griffin and Campbell Construction was on site as the demolition contractors.
Reporting by Tommy Rowan, Alex Wigglesworth and Christina Paciolla
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