Pennsylvania

Investigations into the collapse of the North Philadelphia building that killed firefighters continue – Wake-up call

Brick, twisted metal, piles of debris, and tattered star pizza and seafood signs peaking from rubble on West Indiana Avenue and Third Street in Fairhill on Sunday morning.

A fire broke out in a mixed-use building that eventually collapsed early Saturday, killing Lieutenant Seann Williamson, injuring four other firefighters and a city construction inspector, and inhabiting 11 people. It is the expulsion of the person. The fire chief said.

“This is painfully slow. There is a gradual systematic effort,” said Christopher Beer, captain of the Marshal Fire Department, on Sunday. Authorities will investigate all possible sources of ignition and rule out one possible cause. For now, “they are all on the table.”

Fire authorities will also work with the city’s License Inspection Office to assess the cause of the collapse of the three-story building, which the authorities said was an unauthorized construction site in recent years.

“The structure is weak in the first place, and if the fire then attacks it, it becomes weak. It may have been triggered by the fire,” Beer said.

One-third of Philadelphia’s building inspectors have resigned since 2019. Critics say it threatens public safety.

City officials and neighbors also explained that the flame was a minor one that had already been declared under control when the building collapsed shortly before 3:30 am on Saturday. Three firefighters and one L & I inspector were initially trapped, but soon released. It took nearly four hours for rescue workers to arrive at Williamson and another firefighter, Robert Brennan Jr. Robert Brennan Jr. was taken to Temple University Hospital and was in critical but stable condition with firefighter Dennis Daily.

According to Beer, Williamson and others were in the process of what is known as an “overhaul.”

This is a necessary step to check the scene for prolonged fires that may be smoldering on the ceiling or behind the walls. “I don’t want to come back again,” he said, saying the return trip is likely to cause even more serious damage. At the same time, on Saturday, when the building collapsed, investigators have already begun work to determine the cause of the fire, he said.

Neighbors said that working on the building included moving the outer stairs and, apparently, building an apartment on the second floor. Three families lived in the building, but there was no valid rental permit, city records show. These records also show a number of unresolved building code violations in the field. Many of them are related to fire protection issues.

Star Pizza owner Karil Al Ashraf hung up when a reporter contacted him on Sunday.

Bernard Torres, who lives across the street, said he was awakened by his brother’s warning of a fire around 2:30 am. They turned off the fire in, for example, 15 minutes. After falling asleep, there was a noise. boom! “

He smoked a cigarette on a pouch a few feet away from a pile of debris, and he summarized the scene in one word.

Around the warning tape and a line of red fire trucks rang the scene on Sunday morning, but active work had not yet begun.

“I apologize for your loss,” the driver called the department staff when he bypassed American Street.

51-year-old Williamson, assigned to Ladder 18 in Hunting Park, survived by his mother and son. His mother, Barbara Nerch, introduced his question to the fire department.

“Shaun had a big family, a loving family. That’s all I can say. He will be very lonely,” she said.

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Williamson’s public services have drawn praise and gratitude from Mayor Jim Kenney.

“For more than 27 years, he devoted his life to serving and protecting the people of Philadelphia and sacrificed his life to protect others,” Kenny said in a statement.

Dave Sktnik, regional communications director for the Red Cross in southeastern Pennsylvania, said the organization is providing emergency assistance to a total of 11 people, including three families who lived in apartments above pizzerias.

“We provide them with financial support for temporary accommodation, food and clothing, and they work individually with our caseworkers to find new places to live,” he said.

(C) 2022 Philadelphia Inquirer

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Investigations into the collapse of the North Philadelphia building that killed firefighters continue – Wake-up call

Source link Investigations into the collapse of the North Philadelphia building that killed firefighters continue – Wake-up call

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