Deposition of Center City collapse victim released

PHILADELPHIA - November 25, 2013

That release came on the same day prosecutors charged contractor Griffin Campbell with six counts of third-degree murder.

Mariya Plekan, 52, was one of those who survived, but just barely.

"I was praying, praying, 'Oh, God, help me be so I can be found," Plekan is heard to say in the deposition.

The Ukranian immigrant lost the lower half of her body after the Salvation Army store at 22nd and Market was crushed by a falling building that had been under demolition. She wasn't found until she was located by search dogs.

"I started to scream and the dog followed my yell," Plekan said.

Plekan's lawyer, Andy Stern, is alleging widespread negligence in the case. He said the Salvation Army had been warned about the danger and should have shut the store down.

Plekan has survived kidney failure, cardiac arrest and a host of other life-threatening problems brought on by her injuries.

"She ultimately, literally, had one-half of her body removed by amputation. We're talking about bilateral amputations up to her hip," said Stern.

Plekan is undergoing rehabilitation in a Center City medical facility and her ultimate survival is still not assured, Stern said. Her medical bills are already in the millions and she will require 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

Her deposition was videotaped so it could be preserved in the event of her sudden death. In it, she described the moments when she was rescued on the night of June 6th.

"I was screaming 'Help and he said 'I heard that there is somebody alive here,'" she said.

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