A Philadelphia firefighter was killed and several were injured in a building collapse


The scene of the collapsed building where a firefighter died and others were injured in Philadelphia.

Photo: Philadelphia Fire Department / Courtesy

A firefighter died Saturday while responding to a fire and subsequent collapse of a building in Philadelphia, authorities said Saturday. Four other firefighters and an employee of the city’s Department of Licensing and Inspections were injured in the incident.

In a statement Saturday afternoon, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney identified the firefighter as Lt. Sean Williamson, 51. He was a 27-year veteran of the department and leaves behind his mother and 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.” The mayor said the flags will fly at half-staff for 30 days to honor Williamson.

The five who were injured were Lt. Sylvester Burton, fire chief; Lieutenant Clarence Johnson; firefighters Dennis Bailey and Robert Brennan Jr.; and Thomas Rybakowski, supervisor of the city’s Department of Licensing and Inspections.

Until Saturday afternoon, Brennan and Bailey remain in critical but stable condition at the hospital. while the other injured have been discharged.

The building collapsed just before 3:30 a.m., following a fire call that came in just before 2 a.m., according to Craig Murphy, deputy commissioner of the Fire Department.

The building housed Star Pizza Fish and Chicken, in the Fairhill section of North Philadelphia, a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. about three miles north of downtown it is dominated by two- and three-story row houses.

During fire response, eight occupants of the building were evacuated safelythe mayor’s office said.

Authorities brought the collapse under control just before 7:15 a.m. It is not known what caused the fire and it is being investigated.

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