Search And Rescue Over At Building Collapse Site - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Search And Rescue Over At Building Collapse Site

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Activity has slowed with nightfall but just like late Wednesday night, anything is possible. After 11pm Wednesday emergency crews rescued a woman from beneath the pile nearly 12 hours after the deadly building collapse.

Special Operations Chief Craig Murphy spoke during a news conference about fellow rescuer Chief John O'Neill who located the woman after thinking what he saw was just a wrack of clothing buried in the Salvation Army Thrift Store rubble.

"John actually just felt to see if he could feel a person under the pile of clothes. The woman moved and arched her back. John was scared and surprised. He put his hand in the air and said we got a live one here."

Chuck Slemmer is in awe of that rescue. But many are moved by his actions along with two of his co-workers. They were photographed springing into action. 

"It was an adrenaline rush," said Slemmer. Slemmer and his coworkers Dave and Jeff are steam fitters with Local 420. They were working nearby, rushed to the scene and without a second thought, "We started moving bricks and trying to see if we could see people. We were able to see a stairwell that was caved in," said Dave Heintz. They found a hole and began widening it to get people out. They remember one woman they couldn't reach though. Emergency did when they arrived.

"She was trapped on a stairwell and had like a 10 foot fall if she would have went one way or the other," recalled Slemmer.

Jeff Ware who served three tours in Iraq did what he knows best. He risked his life to save others.

"You don't really think. You just think that there's somebody in there and you can hear them. You just hope nobody is hurt."

In the meantime, officials are turning their focus to what is sure to be a grueling investigation into a demolition gone wrong.

"Something obviously went wrong here yesterday and possibly in the days leading up to it. That's what the investigation is for," said Mayor Michael Nutter.

The fire department is wrapping up the cleanup process since the search and rescue effort is over.

They'll turn over the site to License and Inspections, the Fire Marshall and police.

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