A firefighter died after becoming trapped in the rubble of a burned-out building that collapsed in Philadelphia on Saturday shortly after it caught fire.
First responders raced toward a blaze sparked inside a commercial building in the city’s Fairhill neighborhood around 1:50 a.m. What initially appeared to be a “pretty routine fire” escalated into a “total collapse” of the building by around 3:30 a.m., Craig Murphy, 1st Deputy Fire Commissioner, said at a Saturday news conference.
An inspector with the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections and five firefighters were inside the building — investigating the origin of the flames — when it went down. Another person jumped from the second floor of the building to avoid being trapped, Murphy added.
All but one firefighter was pulled from the rubble alive. He was pronounced dead on the scene while the other five victims were rushed to a nearby hospital.
The deceased firefighter’s identity was not immediately revealed pending notification to his family, but Murphy told reporters he had served 27 years in the department. He added that the inspector has since been released from the hospital while the rest of the firefighters appear to be in stable condition.
“People are just starting to decompress because we just finished up pulling our brother out of this place,” Murphy said, noting that he knew the fallen first responder well.
“It’s going to be a rough few weeks.”
Mayor Jim Kenney in tweet posted after the tragedy said he was “grieving with the members of the Philadelphia fire department and all Philadelphia who lost one of our own in the line of duty today.”