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Search for survivors continues at PA building collapse site

The search for victims, both dead and perhaps injured, is not over at the site of a building collapse in Philadelphia. All of Pennsylvania and much of the world is attuned to the developments as emergency crews continue to go through the rubble of a Salvation Army thrift store that was crushed Wednesday under falling debris from a taller next door building that was being demolished.

So far, six people are confirmed dead. At least 14 people were hurt when they were caught under the deluge of bricks from the under-demolition building and the collapse of the store building that resulted. Six people went to the hospital. Two were treated and released and four are said to be recovering, including a 61-year-old woman who was miraculously pulled from the refuse 13 hours after the incident.

At this point, no official fingers of are being pointed at anyone as being potentially liable for unsafe conditions at the site. City officials say they will undertake a broad investigation but at this point there do not seem to be any apparent violations related to the demolition project.

Still, witnesses in the area, some of whom have been watching the project for some time as it has progressed, say that they are not surprised this happened. They tell reporters that the four-story shell of the building appeared unstable for days. And other witnesses say that just before the collapse, a crane apparently banged into the structure a couple of times just before the wall tumbled down.

Among the questions some are asking is whether an error was made by not ordering the thrift store to close, at least during the most delicate period of demolition.

Source: CNN, "Philly mayor: Probe of building collapse under way," Ashley Fantz and Sarah Hoye, June 6, 2013

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