PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The building collapse in Fairhill that killed a Philly firefighter and injured five others came just as fire crews had finished their work putting out a blaze at the pizza shop. Neighbors say it’s traumatizing seeing this large pile of debris as crews continue sifting through the rubble.
Philadelphia firefighters arrived at the scene in Fairhill just after 2 a.m. Saturday for a fire at a pizza parlor.
Darlene Mumbauer watched from her apartment as firefighters burst into the building.
“It didn’t look like anything very serious, but I saw all these trucks and they started to shear away the grates at the windows to get in,” Darlene Mumbaure said.
She saw smoke but no flames, thinking the fire was under control. Mumbauere went back to sleep.
“Then my niece comes down about an hour later and said, ‘The whole building collapsed,’” Mumbaure said. “And I said, ‘What!?’”
The building’s collapse just after 3:15 a.m. jolted awake Maria Lopez’s family.
“We heard like a bomb real, real hard,” Lopez said. “We thought it was raining or it was thunderstorming but we didn’t pay no mind.”
It was only when she and other neighbors walked outside, they realized the seriousness of what happened.
Five firefighters and a city inspector were trapped in the rubble.
Crews worked all morning trying to pull everyone out. They rescued four of the firefighters and the inspector, all of whom were taken to Temple University Hospital.
But one firefighter didn’t make it.
As firefighting brothers and sisters console each other, First Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy says this is a devastating tragedy for the department.
“Continue to pray for us. Continue to pray for this man’s family,” Murphy said.
He says multiple agencies are investigating how the fire started, and what led up to the building’s collapse.
As crews clean up what’s left of this building, neighbors are left stunned by this next door tragedy.
“I’m very sad and I feel bad about their family,” Lopez said.
Red Cross says two families were displaced by the collapse but they’re relocating them to new housing.