Woman hit in the head after debris falls from Center City building

Debris could be seen scattered on the ground.

6abc Digital Staff Image
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Woman hit in the head by falling debris in Center City
Part of a building fell onto a woman at 13th and Chancellor streets in Center City Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A woman is in critical condition after part of a building's facade fell onto the street in Center City Philadelphia.

Chopper 6 was over the scene shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday at 13th and Chancellor streets, near Walnut Street.

Video from Chopper 6 showed police tape and rubble on the ground near 13th and Chancellor streets. Officials said a woman was injured by the falling debris.

Debris could be seen scattered on the ground. Police tape roped off the area.

"I heard a bang and the building shook," said Debbie B., who works inside the building.

Police say a 30-year-old woman was struck in the head by a concrete slab that fell off the building at 201 South 13th Street.

"It was concerning when I saw a body in the street. That's what was more concerning than the building falling - I was concerned about the body in the street," Debbie said.

The victim was taken to Jefferson University Hospital in critical but stable condition.

"I didn't know if she was alive or not. They weren't moving, they weren't moving. So, yeah, it was a little scary," Debbie said.

Police say contractors had been working on the building.

6abc looked into online records from the Department of Licenses and Inspections, which show the building was considered 'unsafe' in November of 2022, and had an open violation for the facade.

It is unclear if that was what was being worked on by contractors at the time of the collapse, but L&I was called to the scene to inspect the structure.

"These buildings, they can be very ornate, but they're also very old," said Gale Russo who lives and walks in the area.

She and others wondered why a protected walkway wasn't constructed on the sidewalk before to prevent this.

6abc asked the city, and a spokesperson said those safety precautions are up to the building's owner. The owner, PMC Property Group, did not respond to a request for comment.

A protective barrier was installed after the collapse.

No other injuries have been reported.