POUGHKEEPSIE, New York (WABC) -- A woman was pulled alive from the rubble by rescuers in Poughkeepsie Monday night after a building collapsed onto two others.
Authorities say a vacant seven-story building at 19 Academy Street partially collapsed, falling onto 17 and 15 Academy Street and causing 15 -- a three-story building -- to collapse as well.
The woman, a hair salon employee, was trapped for several hours inside 15 Academy.
She was conscious and with firefighters, who were working to free her without jeopardizing the structure to further collapse.
It was getting dark when rescuers gingerly pulled Rotanya Hargrove from under the rubble and lifted her into an ambulance.
It lifted her family's spirits as the;y took a breath for the first time in hours.
"In a normal circumstance we wouldn't have anybody near this building but we have a person in there who is healthy and alive and we're gonna do everything for her we can to get her out," said Poughkeepsie Fire Chief Mark Johnson.
Firefighters risked their lives to stay with Hargrove as the state's urban rescue task force suited up to shore up the building. Finally they eased her out injured but alive, and very lucky.
City officials said the vacant building, which had just been sold to a developer, collapsed onto at least two other occupied apartment buildings.
"All of a sudden I hear a commotion up top and I look up, I see bricks falling," said witness Jamil Bristow. "It sounded like somebody hit a bulldozer into it."
Bristow ran for his life. "I feel lucky. Definitely had an angel on my shoulder. It's only by the grace of God that I'm still alive," he said.
The search and rescue task force went room by room to make sure there were no other victims. Everyone has been accounted for.