I was alarmed, as a Philadelphia injury lawyer, to learn that a Salvation Army thrift store in Philadelphia's Center City collapsed today while it was full of employees and shoppers. According to Philly.com, the demolition of a building next door to the Salvation Army store on Market Street caused the store's own building to partially collapse, trapping an unknown number of people in the rubble. At least 13 people were pulled from the store by rescuers by the early afternoon of June 5, and taken to a variety of hospitals with injuries that were largely or entirely minor. Law enforcement and city officials had not confirmed reports that one or two others have died. Speakers at a 2:30 p.m. press conference said there would be active searching for 12 to 24 more hours, and that they weren't sure how many people could be left inside.
The building being demolished was a condemned four-story commercial building in an area that had long been considered blighted. The Philly.com article reported that witnesses heard a loud moaning "like a freight train" around 10:45 a.m., then saw one side of the building fall onto the Salvation Army store next door, partially collapsing it. Philly.com reported that the building under demolition shared a back wall with an apartment building, which also went down. People on the street outside reportedly were knocked off their feet, or ran across the street as the air filled with dust and debris. Some witnesses said that at first they feared the collapse was an act of terrorism, leading the police to reassure residents that this appears to be an industrial accident. Some witnesses were very upset; others rushed in to pull victims out of the building before firefighters could arrive.
Right now, even the newspaper has a lot of unanswered questions. But as a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer, I know a lot will depend on the answers to those questions. All of the people who were injured or lost property in this accident will be looking for someone to hold accountable, and that might be the subcontractor handling the demolition, the architect who hired them, individuals working for those businesses or some combination thereof. Sifting through all of these parties, and their insurance companies, will take time and care even for an experienced Philadelphia accident lawyer. Because any such lawsuit would also involve serious injuries that will be difficult to properly explain and value, it's absolutely vital for victims and their families to have an experienced attorney on their sides.
If you suffered any kind of injury when you expected to be safe on someone else's property, Rosenbaum & Associates can help. For a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 1-800-7-LEGAL-7 or send us an email anytime.
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