Piece of rubble found beneath survivors
A small piece of rubble was removed unharmed from beneath the collapsed survivors of a Burlington apartment building this morning.
The rocklike chunk of concrete had been trapped for more than 76 hours beneath the tangled mass of 500 healthy humans.
Although several tons of concrete and debris had been removed from beneath the breathing pile of humanity during the first day of rescue efforts, the next 24 hours uncovered only broken shards, and, after three days, hopes were fast fading that further rubble would be uncovered.
Rescue efforts were within hours of wrapping up when sounds were heard beneath the pile of warm limbs and faces.
“We heard a grating sound,” said rescue chief Ryan Scheem. “As soon as I heard it, I thought, oh my God, there’s something hard and stonelike in there.”
It took six hours to dig through the layers of survivors, many of whom were tired and unwilling to move aside for the firefighters and volunteers. A crowd of onlookers cheered and applauded as the rubble was finally lifted out, strapped to a small shovel.
“It’s a miracle,” said one eyewitness. “That little piece of rubble, in there all that time, cut off from the outside world.”
The rubble was quickly transferred to a stretcher and sent to a nearby hospital, where concrete experts said it seemed to be no worse off for its experience.
“It’s one lucky piece of masonry,” said physician Harmony Pachenko. “We see a lot of cases here, but this takes the rock cake,” she quipped, endingly.