In a press conference late Wednesday night, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter confirmed that six died in a building collapse earlier today. The collapse involved a partially demolished building in the city's downtown. It fell into a Salvation Army thrift store, trapping over a dozen inside.
The dead are five women and one man. The mayor wouldn't release any more details on the deceased during the 11 p.m. press conference, though he did say that he wasn't sure whether the six victims have all been identified yet.
Here's how the Philadelphia Inquirer described the scene earlier today, as victims were pulled from the rubble:
"Amid pandemonium and choking dust, bystanders and emergency responders pulled survivors from the collapsed thrift store at 22nd and Market Streets, which had been crowded with morning shoppers who turned out for its weekly "Half-Off" sale."
One survivor was buried for over two hours in the rubble. She had only minor injuries, according to Nutter. He noted that search and rescue crews haven't finished searching the rubble. They think everyone in the collapse has been removed at this point, but "we do not know for sure."
(UPDATE: Thursday, 6:00 a.m. Late last night, a 61-year-old woman was pulled out of the rubble, more than 12 hours after the building collapsed. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition, making the 14 person to pulled out alive.)
The Associated Press, meanwhile, spoke to those who lived and worked near the building, and found that quite a few people thought a disaster like this was bound to happen at that site. Roofer Patrick Glynn told the AP that "For weeks they've been standing on the edge, knocking bricks off...You could just see it was ready to go at any time. I knew it was going to happen." Meanwhile, Steve Cramer and Dan Gills (who'd been washing nearby windows for several days) said "We've been calling it for the past week - it's going to fall, it's going to fall." The building had no existing violations, and the proper permits for demolition, the AP notes.
For more on the collapse, take a look at our earlier report.