• Woman rescued after 9-plus hours trapped inside collapsed building

    Updated:

    WASHINGTON, Pa. - A Washington mother was trapped for nine agonizing hours Wednesday when a building, already red-flagged for dangerous conditions, collapsed.

    First responders worked throughout the day, in grueling heat, to free her from that collapsed building.

    They all cheered once she was rescued.

    PHOTOS: Pennsylvania Team Strike 1 rescues woman trapped inside building


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    WHO SHE IS:

    Megan Angelone is being treated at UPMC Presby.

    "My mom turned the news on, and the next thing I know, the EMT called her," said Matthew Angelone, the victim's brother. 

    He is glad his sister is OK, but has serious questions for officials with Washington County.

    "How come the county didn't shut the building down? They wouldn't have this mess right now," Matthew Angelone said.

    Megan Angelone had moved in less than a week ago.

    "Just last night, her whole ceiling fell down," Matthew Angelone said.

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    THE RESCUE:

    "It was very difficult to get her out," said Chief Alan Hausman with Pennsylvania Strike Team 1, which is the largest in the state for urban search and rescue. "She was in a very small area with appliances on top of her."

    Angelone was trapped under a refrigerator and two floors of debris.
     
    "We made contact with her pretty early on," Hausman said. "She was very heavily entrapped, but alert, conscious, talking with us."
     
    Rescue crews worked meticulously to carefully free her. 
     
    "We began a very rigorous procedure with her to keep her going," Hausman said.
     
    The team, which includes doctors and medics, worked meticulously to keep her safe and alive by administering pain medications, fluids and oxygen throughout the day, even keeping her warm.
     
    "Remember, we are dealing with a person, and so we ended up hand digging right around her to ensure we didn't cause any more damage to her," Hausman said. "We kept in her good spirits." 
     
    Airbags, hydraulic rescue tools and a whole lot of hand digging eventually got her out.
     
    Hausman said she was very excited and in great spirits with no visible signs of outward trauma. 
     
     
    OTHER TENANTS:
     
    Tenants who lived inside the Main Street Apartments in Washington told Channel 11 they've been telling the landlord about the problems for years.
     
    "I woke up, heard someone falling down steps," said Omeer Sellers. "I grabbed a few items I could and opened the door, and (there was) rubble from the ceiling in the hallway. The guys from the fire department came in and said, 'Man, get out of here.'"
     
    Another tenant told Channel 11 he broke his wrist jumping down the stairs, trying to get out of the crumbling building.
     
    "As soon as I looked, I saw the whole wall coming down and that's whenever I grabbed her and I threw her down the stairs and threw my buddy down the stairs and went down the stairs," Robert Teagarden said.
     
    Pictures given to Channel 11 by another tenant show cracks up and down the wall inside the building well before Wednesday's collapse. The brick behind the wall was even starting to pull apart. 
     
     
    WHAT'S NEXT: 
     
    The city of Washington has been working to take action on that building.
     
    11 Investigates uncovered the building owners, Mark and Melissa Russo, were already due in court next week.
     
    The road is blocked off and authorities are keeping watch on the building.
     
    Channel 11 tried to contact the landlord again and we have not heard back.
     
    A member of council says they're hoping to start the process of bringing the building down Thursday.

    UPDATE 6:25 p.m.

    After nine hours, the woman trapped underneath a refrigerator inside a collapsed building has been freed.

    People could be heard cheering as she was loaded into the ambulance.

    Two rescue workers were hospitalized because of the heat.

    UPDATE 5:54 p.m. 

    UPDATE 4:45 p.m.

    Two doctors are now with the woman trapped underneath a refrigerator inside of a collapsed building in Washington.

    She's been trapped for more than seven hours. Crews are trying to stabilize the building so they can get to her.

    They decided Wednesday afternoon the building wasn't stable enough and the best method to get the woman out safely was to bust through the brick wall of the neighboring building.

    Rescuers told Channel 11 the refrigerator protected her from the two floors of debris that collapsed on top of it.

    Doctors are giving the woman an IV and medicine while first responders remove each piece in a way that ensures more debris will not collapse.

    More medics are on standby for when that woman is brought out of the building.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

    One person is trapped and another person was rescued Wednesday morning from a building that partially collapsed in Washington, officials said.

    WHAT WE KNOW:

    Emergency crews responded about 9 a.m. to the scene on North Main Street.

    At least five people extricated, either with help or on their own, from the building, officials said. A man was rescued from the building, but his fiancee is still trapped inside under a refrigerator. She is talking with paramedics and an IV was put in her arm to get fluids to her.

    Washington County Director of Public Safety Jeff Yates said the refrigerator is holding the weight of two stories.

    “She is kind of under a refrigerator, but the refrigerator is braced up against something, so she’s basically got a safe space but she can’t get out of it,” Yates said.

    The man was taken to Washington Hospital.

    The building has been under construction and was to become a coffee shop, Channel 11’s Cara Sapida reported. Officials said crews have to stabilize the building before going in to rescue the woman.

    Crews evacuated the building at about 2 p.m. but resumed rescue efforts a short time later using a crane and baskets.

    The American Red Cross said assistance is being provided to nine people who were displaced by the collapse.

    BUILDING OWNER CITED:

    The owner of the building that collapsed was cited in March. According to the citation, the owner failed to replace a failing wall that was cracked and not structurally sound.

    MORE: Owner of collapsed building cited in March

    Despite the citation, the owner, Mark Russo, told Channel 11’s Aaron Martin that the property is in compliance.

    “I'm in compliance. I had people working to deal with issues,” Russo said. “I never thought something like this would happen.”


     

     

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