Philadelphia Building Collapse Survivor Pulled After 12 Hours Trapped

Image: Philadelphia Building Collapse Survivor Pulled After 12 Hours Trapped Firefighters stand by while rescuers search for anyone trapped among debris at the site of the collapsed building in Philadelphia, June 5, 2013.

Thursday, 06 Jun 2013 11:53 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A 61-year-old woman was rescued late Wednesday night after being trapped for 12 hours in the rubble of the building that collapsed in Philadelphia earlier in the day, killing six and injuring at least 14 people.

Myra Plekam of Kensington, Pa., was reportedly alert and talking when police pulled her from the debris of the four-story building that fell Wednesday and took down part of an adjoining Salvation Army thrift store with it. Plekam was thought to be the last of those trapped in the rubble, officials said.

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Just minutes before Plekam's rescue, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced that one man and five women had died in the collapse.

"This has been a tough day here in the city of Philadelphia but we're a pretty tough city and we're quite resilient," he said in a media address.

ABC News reported that the building was in the process of being demolished when an exterior wall it shared with an adjoining building fell outward, collapsing into the neighboring two-story structure that housed the thrift shop. Most of the victims were inside the Salvation Army store at the time of the tragedy.

Eyewitnesses described the horrifying scene on the corner of 22nd and Market streets in Philadelphia's Center City neighborhood.

"They've been working over there for about a week now. It was a 30 foot wall, they started pulling on a piece of steel, and I seen the whole wall just waving back and forth, and as soon as they pulled that out, there was no stopping it," Dan Gillis told ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV.

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Related stories:

Philadelphia Building Collapse: Rescuers Work to Free Trapped Victims

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Collapse of Apartment Building in Egypt Kills at Least 17

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