One killed as house collapses

One killed as house collapses
Published: 2014 September 10 10:10:43 (7393 Views)
One worker was killed and others are lucky to be alive after a Toronto house suddenly collapsed during renovations Tuesday afternoon.

The two-storey home in the city's North York area came crashing down just after 2 p.m., trapping three workers beneath the rubble, including one who died.

"There was a loud bang," neighbour Fatima Bhyat said, explaining it was unlike anything she's ever heard. "I ran out and all I saw was smoke."

She and other residents of the street said the house was under renovation and the owners had not been living in it.

One second the brick house was standing and the next it was gone, Bhyat said.

"It's very scary," she said.

Emergency crews raced to the scene and arrived to find at least one young man had narrowly escaped the collapse on his own.

Firefighters quickly pulled another young man from the destroyed dwelling and began a frantic two-hour rescue effort to uncover the two others who were still trapped.

"The house just pancaked," Toronto Fire Division Cmdr. Bob O'Halloran said at the scene, explaining the roof collapsed and pulled the walls down.

"Some collapses, if they come down on an angle, there's void spaces in there," he said. "But this came straight down, so it flattened down on top."

O'Halloran said the weight of the structure collapsed into the basement on top of the workers.



More than 50 firefighters and a Heavy Urban Search and Rescue team began digging through the rubble by hand, spurred on by the mistaken belief the trapped pair were both still alive.

Emergency responders talked to the victims through the debris during the dramatic rescue and initially thought they were communicating with two people at opposite ends of the collapsed structure.

But when rescuers pulled one man out of the rubble shortly after 4 p.m., the second voice suddenly stopped.

"We might have been talking to the same person," O'Halloran said, explaining there may have only been one voice all along.

He said the worker who was saved "had a beam pinning his leg."

"We managed to get our crews down and, with air bags, lifted that beam off and he was able to get out," O'Halloran said.

That worker was conscious as he was whisked away in an ambulance to hospital.

But the rescue workers' joy quickly soured when they uncovered the second victim enough so that paramedics could reach in and determine he had no vital signs.

"It's very tough," O'Halloran said. "Nobody minds working as hard as they can for hours, but when it's a futile effort in the end, it's very upsetting."

The name and age of the dead man were not immediately available. And O'Halloran did not know what company employed him.

But several other workers, who remained at the scene during the rescue operation, appeared to be only teenagers.



Source - Sunnewsnetwork

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