CONNELLSVILLE (KDKA) – A Connellsville man, trapped beneath rubble and debris,  made a desperate call to 911 for help Monday afternoon.

He was inside a building when it partially collapsed. Rescue workers said they had a hard time reaching him because they were afraid the entire building would collapse.

The building has been around since the turn of the last century, but it will soon be turned into a vacant lot.

Pittsburgh Street was closed so demolition crews could begin tearing down the building Tuesday morning.

“It’s already collapsed, so we have to be very careful. It’s going to take some time to go through it,” Chelsea Ritenour said.

On Monday, two floors of the building came crashing down on the owner, Brian Upton. He managed to survive with moderate injuries.

“We’re hoping to get the side wall down, it’s leaning, and some of the front down to get inside the building,” Ritenour said.

“When I was a little boy back in the 1930s, when my father had it, it was quite some kind of a building,” former owner J.C. Fox said.

From 1923-87, Fox’s family owned and operated a hardware store in the building.

“It’s a shame that the building has to come down, but it deserves to come down because it’s such a hazard to the public. Every time I will pass the empty lot I will think about my family and the family business and the hardware store,” Fox said.

While being rescued, Upton lost his prosthetic leg. Tuesday afternoon, the demolition crew retrieved it from the rubble and gave it to city officials so it could be returned to him.


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