The fallen firefighter was not immediately identified, but Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said he was a 27-year department veteran. “It’s going to be a rough few weeks coming up,” Murphy said at a media briefing around 8 a.m.
The blaze broke out around 2 a.m. at a three-story restaurant and residential building located on the 300 block of West Indiana Avenue in the city’s Fairhill section. The fire had been put out, but then the building collapsed at 3:24 a.m.
Four other firefighters and an inspector with the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections were also trapped at the time of the collapse. One firefighter jumped from the second story of the rubble, Murphy said.
The others were pulled out at various times.
Two firefighters and the L&I worker have been released from Temple University Hospital. One firefighter remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition.
The firefighter who died was pronounced dead at the scene.
TRAGEDY. A 27 year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department died after being trapped in the rubble of a collapse on 3rd and Indiana in Fairhill. 4 more firefighters and an L&I inspector were rescued @6abc pic.twitter.com/a15CrLjG1b
— Beccah Hendrickson (@Beccah6abc) June 18, 2022
“You can’t predict this,” Murphy told reporters at a news conference. “This was just a catastrophic accident that (has) really hurt our department.”
Investigators were looking into what caused the collapse. Murphy said the building had been affected by the fire, but it was unclear what caused it to come down.
Mayor Jim Kenney said in a Twitter post that he was “grieving with the members of the Philadelphia fire department and all Philadelphia who lost one of our own in the line of duty today.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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