Firefighters Free Man Trapped in Basement of West Philadelphia House

Firefighters worked for nearly an hour to rescue a man trapped in the basement of a home that partially collapsed Tuesday morning.

Contractors have been doing demolition work on the two-story home at 108 N Salford Street -- near 60th and Arch Streets -- in West Philadelphia and around 10:20 a.m. a man became trapped by falling debris after the first-floor collapsed, said Philadelphia Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Senski.

As SkyForce10 hovered overhead a short time later, you could see about one dozen firefighters working on a front window into the basement for nearly an hour, removing debris and appearing to look inside. Shortly after 11:20 a.m., firefighters got the man out, stabilized his body and loaded him into a waiting ambulance.

Senski said firefighters used air bags to lift debris and get to the man who was initially believed to be a contractor but later was found to have been in the home illegally.

No word yet on the man's exact condition but Senski said he was "alert and conscious" as he went to Penn Presbyterian Hospital.

There were multiple workers in the home at the time, said firefighters. Senski said no one else was hurt.

"The firemen did an excellent job," said Senski.

The home has been in poor shape for years – dubbed a vacant property by Philadelphia Licenses and Inspections as far back as 2008 and shown as vacant on Google Street View in October 2014 – and just last month was brought up to code as repairs were made to a deteriorating wall, according to L&I records.

L&I would investigate the collapse, said Senski.

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