Survivor Of Market Street Building Collapse Speaks - KMSP-TV

Survivor Of Market Street Building Collapse Speaks

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A ruling from a Philadelphia judge came Tuesday in the case against two men charged in connection with the Market Street building collapse that killed six people almost one year ago.

In the meantime, two days from the disaster's one year anniversary, a survivor shared her heartbreaking story.

Fox 29's Dave Kinchen has the report.

Mariya Plekan lost both of her legs in the incident, and now suffers from a host of medical issues.

She was the last person to be pulled from the rubble.

Her appearance came hours after a judge denied a request to drop criminal conspiracy charges against backhoe operator Sean Benschop and demolition project leader Griffin Campbell.

In a wheelchair pushed by her son, Mariya Plekan, was escorted through the St. Ignatious Nursing and Rehab Center in West Philadelphia.

It is where she has stayed for several months in recovery after the 2013 Center City building collapse.

"I just was praying is somebody going to find me and hear me there," said Plekan.

She spoke through an interpreter, and was joined by her attorney.

The Ukrainian mother of two relived the frightening moment when the walls of a Market Street building, under demolition, crashed onto the Salvation Army Thrift Store she was shopping in.

"I was on the left side of store and when everything collapsed on me the brick wall make a (collar) on me made little crack in between, and I make hole and I try to breathe. It was possible to see light from that crack that wall make and it was possible to breathe," she explained.

She says breathing was difficult with the sheer tonnage of debris on top of her.

"I felt very heavy bricks, bricks on me, and I could not move. I heard my phone, but I could not move to reach to my phone," said Plekan.

She was buried for 13 excruciating hours.

"I was thinking about my kids. All the time about my kids, and praying God somebody will hear," she said.

Crews worked frantically to find her.

And then this: "When I scream 'Help, help' that moment when I felt pressure on my head, no the top of my head, some people was walking," she said.

She says a rescuer and his dog heard her cries.

And Fox 29 was there when firefighters lifted her on to a stretcher and to safety.

Now, it's only her son Andrew by her side because her daughter had to go back home.

Plekan is working with an immigration attorney to have both children here to help her on the tough road ahead.

"I wish my kids could be with me. That's all what I stay strong for because they only who take care of me, and I need them now like never before," she said.

Meanwhile, the backhoe operator and demolition contractor are charged continue to build their defense, but she has a message.

"When I look at people who are responsible for this, I look at them face and say 'How I supposed to live now?' 'How change my life now? " And not just mine, my kids life," she said.

Her attorney says she is now north of two million dollars in medical bills. Plekan also wants to meet the rescuers who saved her.

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