Philadelphia firefighter killed, 5 others injured in building collapse
A firefighter who was responding to a building fire in Philadelphia on Saturday died, authorities announced Saturday. The incident resulted in injuries to four other firefighters and one employee of Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections.
In a statement Saturday afternoon, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney identified the firefighter as 51-year-old Lieutenant Sean Williamson. He was a 27-year veteran of the department and leaves behind his mother and his son.
“This is a heartbreaking day for our city,” the mayor said. “For more than 27 years, he dedicated his life to serving and protecting the people of Philadelphia, and sacrificed his life protecting others. “
Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel stated in a city statement that the department was “grieving” with the community.
” “It is impossible to express in words how we feel at the moment,” he said.
According to the city’s press release,
Authorities responded just before 2 a.m. Saturday to the fire in Philadelphia’s Fairhill neighborhood. Eight people were evacuated, and the fire was put out within an hour.
The building collapsed at 3:00 a.m., while firefighters were still working on the problem. Three firefighters, Lieutenant Sylvester Burton Fire Marshal, Lieutenant Clarence Johnson, and firefighter Dennis Daly, were trapped. Thomas Rybakowski was also a supervisor of an emergency services unit of the Department of Licenses and Inspections. They were quickly rescued by firefighters and taken to the hospital.
Firefighter Robert Brennan and Williamson were subsequently trapped under debris while conducting a search and rescue operation after the collapse. According to the city, Williamson was declared dead on the spot after they were pulled from the rubble at 7 a.m.
As Saturday afternoon approached, Brennan and Daly were still in critical but stable condition at hospital. The other injured have been released.
Authorities got the collapse under control just before 7: 15 a.m. An investigation is ongoing into the cause of the fire.
The mayor said flags will be flown at half-staff for 30 days to honor Williamson.
Editor’s note: The fallen firefighter’s age has been corrected in this story.
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