Two people are believed to be trapped beneath the rubble at the site of a collapsed building in Philadelphia, authorities said Wednesday. At least 12 people have been injured in the incident, the city's fire commissioner said.
Philadelphia Police described the collapse as an "industrial accident." The site is next to the Mutter Museum, which houses medical oddities.
University of Pennsylvania Hospital was treating four patients from the collapse, according to hospital spokesman Stephen Graff. Hahnemann University Hospital is treating two patients, according to hospital spokeswoman Gianna DeMedio. They are were fair condition.
Ari Barker, who witnessed the aftermath of the collapse, said the building was a vacant three-story structure that collapsed on top of a thrift store next door, as well as a busy sidewalk.
"I was in my office in the high rise across the street and felt and heard a rumbling, a very unusual sound," he said.
Bystanders and construction workers rushed in to search for people trapped under the rubble, Barker said.
Rescue crews soon arrived and asked the public and news helicopters to back off to allow searchers to listen for people trapped under the debris.
"We're asking the public to stay out of the area to allow the rescue workers access," the police department said in a tweet.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been told it was an accident at a demolition site, and it has investigators on the way, representative Leni Fortson said.
A witness, Jordan McLaughlin, told CNN affiliate KYW, that a building "collapsed the wrong way and landed on a thrift shop" that had people inside.
McLaughlin said he and others rushed to help people out of the rubble. He said he helped two people out, and saw up to five others escape within the first 10 minutes.
The fire department was called to the site at 10:43 a.m., Capt. Jeffrey Thompson told CNN. Thompson said it wasn't immediately clear whether it was an apartment building or an adjacent building scheduled for demolition.
Video from WPVI showed two people helping a third person, apparently hurt, away from the rubble. It also showed emergency personnel walking on and around rubble on an exposed area of a ground floor