1 Killed, Another Trapped When Row Home Collapses in North Philadelphia During Demolition

Family and friends identified the worker as Harvey Figgs.

A construction worker is dead after a row home under demolition in North Philadelphia partially collapsed on Monday, trapping him and another worker in the rubble.

The collapse happened at 10:50 a.m. on Monday at 1501 N. Bailey Street.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said two workers were trapped inside the building when it came down.

One worker was able to escape the rubble on his own before firefighters arrived, Thiel said. He was not seriously injured.

"We saw two people digging. And we heard somebody under the ground say 'Hurry, hurry, hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, help me,'" Tracy Ratterea, a witness, told NBC10.

Two crews and 40 firefighters spent 15 minutes sifting through brick and debris before finding the other worker, identified by family and friends as Harvey Figgs, 59, of Philadelphia.

"He was actually in a very difficult spot inside the building," Thiel said.

Figgs was put onto a stretcher, but died at the scene.

"I worked with this guy for years," Walter Johnson, a friend of Figgs, told NBC10. "He was a damn good worker. Damn good worker. Ran his own crews and everything. One of the best."

The building is owned by Rollup LLC. NBC10 reached out to them but we have not yet heard back.

City property records listed the building as structurally compromised and the building had been deemed unsafe by L&I in May of 2017. A demolition permit wasn't issued until February. The permit included a requirement that all demolition work be done by "hand method only" without cranes or backhoes.

Gama Wrecking, the demolition company handling the property, has dealt with other issues in the past.

In April, 2014, two Gama workers were injured when they were hit by falling debris at a property in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia. During that incident, L&I determined Gama Wrecking, which is a licensed contractor in the city, was not at fault.

L&I continues to investigate the cause of Monday's collapse.

Harvey Figgs
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