Firefighter killed, four injured in early morning building collapse in Fairhill
The collapse happened after firefighters had put out a box fire at a location on the 300 block of West Indiana Ave.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
Firefighters responded to what First Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy would later call a “pretty routine” box fire a little before 2 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, June 18, on the 300 block of West Indiana Avenue in Fairhill, Philadelphia.
They put it out, but as first responders searched the site — a three story condo with a pizza shop on the first floor — the structure collapsed around 3:24 a.m., according to initial reports from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Six responders were trapped — five firefighters and one city inspector — and five escaped, while one firefighter was killed.
In a press conference just before 8 a.m. on Saturday, Murphy did not identify the deceased firefighter other than to say that he was a 27-year veteran with the department.
“It’s going to be a rough several weeks,” said Murphy.
Of the five that escaped, one also jumped from the second story of the structure, and all were taken to nearby Temple University and are now in stable condition.
In looking at city records of the property, the Inquirer found that it was sold in September 2021 for $120,000, and the pizza shop — called Pizza Star & Seafood — opened its doors shortly after.
When it came to inspections, the property failed in May 2019, listing issues with fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and open junction boxes. They were found unresolved in an inspection done completed in May 2021.
In the aftermath of the collapse and rescue efforts, a heavy mood set in as nearby firefighters began to come to terms with the loss of one of their “brothers.”
“People are just beginning to decompress because we just finished up pulling our brother out of this place… our brothers out of this place,” said Murphy at the morning presser.
The fire marshal is also launching an investigation into the incident, but no foul play is suspected at this time.