Wall comes crashing down, traps 2 workers

NORTH PHILADELPHIA - August 19, 2011

Mark Matthews was inside his home along the 900 block of Boston Street around 9:00 a.m., making breakfast for his 5-year-old nephew, Tony, when he heard the loud crash outside the row home right where contractors were working on an exterior wall.

"I thought it was an earthquake," said Matthews. "I thought the end of the world was coming. I did not know what was happening. I thought a Mack truck was falling off the roof or something."

Mark ran outside and found the first construction worker, 42-year-old Joseph Nixon, buried in bricks up to his waist. He worked to free him from the rubble. Then, the two men turned their attention to freeing the second trapped worker, 51-year-old Devon Jackson. He was buried completely under the pile of bricks and debris.

Matthews explains, "I didn't know what to do. All I did was throw bricks. It was so bad. I thought the guy was dead."

The wall of the row home had been deteriorating for years, ever since the house next door was torn down. Apparently, the workers called in to make repairs failed to brace the wall before starting today.

L&I condemned the house.

Matthews wonders what the family will do now.

"From here, I don't know. I don't know what I am going to do. The house is gone. They told us they might knock it down."

As for the conditions of the two injured construction workers, Devon Jackson was discharged from the hospital and Joseph Nixon remains hospitalized in stable condition.

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