As search in building collapse ends, lawsuits and investigations begin

Story highlights

  • Art student among those killed by falling debris
  • Mayor's office release names of those killed, injured
  • Fire department ends search and rescue efforts
  • Mayor promises "wide-ranging" investigation
Her family says she was brilliant, caring and had the ability to find beauty in everything.
Anne Bryan was in her first year as a full-time student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
She was among the six people killed Wednesday when a building collapse spilled rubble into a thrift store.
Roseline Conteh, Borbor Davis, Kimberly Finnegan, Juanita Harmin and Mary Simpson also died, according to Mayor Michael Nutter.
"Anne lived her life with an open heart," her family said in a statement. "She gave herself to her family, friends and anyone in need of help. Her generosity was limitless."
Nutter promised Thursday morning a "wide-ranging" investigation into the collapse of a four-story wall of a partially demolished building that toppled onto a Salvation Army store.
Later in the day, he released the name of the victims.
"Today, we mourn the loss of six Philadelphians who perished in the terrible tragedy ... Our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of the deceased," Nutter said.
For more than a dozen hours, searchers had climbed over shards of wood, concrete and rebar before calling off the search for possible survivors late Thursday afternoon.
Fire Department Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said officials were "absolutely sure" there were no more victims in the huge pile of rubble.
The scene will be turned over to accident investigators from the police and inspections departments and the fire marshal's office, he said.
Bright light in the darkness
Early Thursday, rescue workers celebrated after finding a 61-year-old woman buried in the rubble. CNN affiliate WPVI interrupted regular programming to deliver the astonishing news.
Myra Plekan moved her hand up and moved her body, a WPVI reporter on the scene said, seeming himself amazed by the rescue.
An ambulance raced Plekan to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where she was in critical condition Thursday.
"It feels outstanding to be able to pull somebody (out) alive," said Michael Resnick, the city's public safety spokesman.
Thirteen people were injured.
Firefighters -- apparently moved by the tragedy -- placed flowers at the collapse site.
Legal proceedings begin
The first lawsuit following the collapse was filed Thursday by attorneys for a 54-year-old woman pulled from the rubble by a firefighter.
Robert J. Mongeluzzi, who represents Nadine White, asked for a jury trial in her personal injury case against the building owner and the demolition company. He filed a motion in state court asking that the defendants preserve all written records and other evidence related to the building.
"Mrs. White was trapped in a nightmare when the collapse occurred," he said through a written statement. "She mourns for those who died and has asked us to do everything we can to require these defendants to pres