Seven other passers-by injured as Center City storefront caves in A second-story storefront in Center City collapsed yesterday afternoon, killing three people and injuring seven others, including four police officers. According to witnesses, the brick facing of the three buildings, which housed shops near 9th and Market streets, collapsed shortly before 2:30 p.m., falling onto pedestrians on the busy sidewalk below. Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Roger Ulshafer said at the scene that the cause of the collapse was still unknown, but that it may have been the result of heavy signs and security grates pulling on the recently-remodeled storefront, shared by two buildings. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Willie Williams said that the Licenses and Inspections Department is investigating possible building code violations. Witnesses said the accident occurred without warning. "I felt the [Market Street El] train underneath and then [the building] just fell," said Rico Clark, an employee in one of the stores in the collapsed building. "It was so quick we didn't know what happened." "It was scary," Clark said. "It could have been my life lying there on the ground." The buildings, located at 930, 932 and 934 Market Street across form the Gallery mall, included a check-cashing center, an electronics store and a clothing store. Passersby and witnesses helped the six rescue squads on the scene clear away the bricks and to pull victims out of the wreckage. South Philadelphia resident Buck Ryder, who left the electronics store just moments before the collapse, said he turned around when he heard "metal crumbling," in time to see the whole front of the building "peeling off from left to right." "There were people screaming and hollering," Ryder said. "I just jumped in and started peeling bricks off and people up." Ryder said he uncovered two people, one of whom died from head and chest injuries. Bob Ott, manager of the Rite Aid Pharmacy nearby, said he was crossing the street when he saw the bricks falling, and ran across to "pull bricks off people to try and get them out." Market Street was closed to traffic from 15th Street to 5th Street for several hours yesterday.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.