It was 10:45 on Wednesday morning at the corner of 22nd & Market St. in downtown Philadelphia when tragically and without warning, an adjoining building that was under demolition collapsed onto a Salvation Army Thrift Store. Employees and shoppers alike were trapped under the heaping rubble of what was once a bustling thrift store in Center City.
Thanks to the heroism of first responders and well-to-do civilians who first witnessed the collapse, a total of 13 people were saved.
It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that 6 people lost their lives in that Salvation Army.
As a regular shopper of this Salvation Army Thrift store when I was in college, I'm deeply saddened by this event.
So, with our shared passion for vintage, for bargains, for thrift stores and secondhand relics, let us gather together for a moment of silence for the following:
Anne Bryan, a local student, artist and thrift shopper at the time of the accident.
Mary Simpson, a talented figure skater and close friend to Anne Bryan who was shopping at the time of the accident.
Kimberly Finnegan, A Roxborough Salvation Army employee who transferred to the downtown Salvation Army Thrift Store. Tragically, her passing was on her first day of the job at this location.
Borbor Davis, a loyal employee of The Salvation Army who never missed a day of work.
Roseline Corteh, an African immigrant who loved worked at The Salvation Army.
Juanita Harmin, a treasure hunter who visited The Salvation Army every Wednesday looking for bargains.
Having visited this Salvation Army thrift store with my sister and friends many times in the past, I cannot believe how this tragedy came to be. It's with extreme gratitude for their services that I am proud to say that Philadelphia has no shortage of heroes...the everyday citizens who spring to action without weighing their own personal risk...the fire fighters digging for signs of life for over 24 hours....the police who guarded the area and aided in the search and rescue... the EMTs and hospital staff who cared for the injured...everyone involved in helping those affected.
Still, this loss of life in the thrift community is truly a tragedy. I never stop to think that one moment I could be thumbing through a box of records at the thrift store, and the next I could be seriously hurt...or worse. And honestly, I'm not sure I'll step into a thrift store again without the thought of those poor people weighing on my heart and mind.