One firefighter died and five other people had to be pulled from the rubble when a building collapsed in Philadelphia Saturday morning following a fire hours earlier at the same location.
Rescue efforts lasted hours until Philadelphia Fire Department 1st Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy confirmed to the press shortly before 8 a.m. that the firefighter, a 27-year department veteran, died in the collapse on the 300 block of Indiana Avenue in the Fairhill neighborhood.
Lt. Sean Williamson, 51, was identified by the city as the firefighter killed in the collapse. He most recently worked at Ladder 18 in the Hunting Park neighborhood. He had one son, the city said.
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Four other firefighters and a Licensing and Inspections Department inspector had also been trapped, Murphy said. The five were transported to Temple University hospital.
They were identified as:
- Lieutenant Sylvester Burton, Fire Marshal
- Lieutenant Clarence Johnson
- Firefighter Dennis Daly
- Firefighter Robert Brennan, Jr.
- Thomas Rybakowski, Supervisor, Emergency Services Unit, L&I
The inspector was released later Saturday, Murphy said.
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Two of the firefighters remained at the hospital in serious condition as of Sunday afternoon, a spokesperson for the city said.
“It’s gonna be a rough few weeks coming up," he said.
The building caught fire around 1:53 a.m., Murphy said. The fire was put out but the building collapsed at 3:24 a.m., he said.
Neighbors told NBC10 the three-story structure had a pizza shop on the first floor and apartments on the second and third floors.
Special Digicast on Fallen Firefighter Sean Williamson
NBC10's Skyforce 10 helicopter showed dozens of firefighters digging through the rubble and standing on the perimeter of the collapse as they searched for their colleague.
Some firefighters could be seen hugging as they anxiously watched the rescue unfolding.
“You can’t predict this. This was just a catastrophic accident that really hurt our department," Murphy said.
On Monday, funeral information for Lt. Williamson was revealed.
Viewings will be held on Sunday, June 26, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Monday, June 27, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Epiphany of Our Lord Church on 1121 Jackson Street in Philadelphia.
A funeral mass will then be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Epiphany of Our Lord Church.
Shortly after the mass, the Philadelphia Fire Department will stage a funeral procession starting at Engine 59/Ladder 18/Medic 4 on 2201 W. Hunting Park Ave.
The procession will travel east on Hunting Park and turn right (south) on Broad Street until it reaches the Stolfo Funeral Home on 2536 S. Broad Street.