Woman thankful after escaping Philadelphia house collapse, finding Bible

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Denise Wheeler and her family survived a house collapse in Philadelphia's Germantown section, but the only one thing she wanted to retrieve in the rumble was her Bible. (WPVI)

Denise Wheeler and her family survived a house collapse in Philadelphia's Germantown section, but the only one thing she wanted to retrieve in the rumble was her Bible.

"I want my Bible. I just want my Bible. Everything else is destroyed, that Bible is not," Wheeler said.


Officials say Wheeler's was one of two homes that collapsed after a fire, the other house was vacant.

It happened around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday on the 4600 block of Germantown Avenue.

What culminated with the destruction actually started unfolding this past weekend.

"That was Saturday. I started noticing the crack, and the crack just got bigger and bigger and bigger," Wheeler said.

But it wasn't until 1 a.m. Tuesday when Wheeler knew she was in trouble.

"I woke up and over the top of my bed I saw the stuff falling," Wheeler said.

She quickly woke her daughter and three grandchildren, evacuated the home, and called 911.

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Officials say two homes collapsed after a fire in Philadelphia's Germantown neighborhood.



A few hours later the entire twin home with two units came crumbling down.

Neighbors say heavy equipment being used nearby by the water department had been rattling the homes in this neighborhood over the past several days.

But officials from Licenses and Inspections say it's too early to determine the cause.

Still, L&I Commissioner Dave Perri says it certainly seems like this collapse was the result of problems with the foundation.

"We are seeing some cracking at that level and we won't know for sure until we remove the debris and actually see what was going on at the basement level," Perri said.

There is one piece of good news to pass along.

One of the first things demolition crews recovered from the wreckage was the very thing Denise Wheeler was hoping to retrieve - her Bible.

"God is good. I got my Bible," Wheeler said with a smile.

The Red Cross is assisting the displaced residents. No injuries were reported.
Related Topics:
newscollapsehouse firephilly newsNorthwest Philadelphia
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