Burned out home collapses on scrapper

DETROIT (WXYZ) - A man is in critical condition after a burned out house in Detroit collapsed on him. The home is on Goddard and Modern on the city's northeast side.

Investigators say it appears the man entered the house to scrap for metal, and if witnesses weren't present at the time of the house collapse, the man would not have survived.

One witness, a friend of the victim, says he was supposed to be inside the house helping the victim strip the home. The witness, who did not want to be identified, says the shopping cart full of pipes from the home would net no more than $25 at the scrap yard. He's learning the price on one's life far exceeds any cart full of pipes.

"All we're trying to do is just survive and eat, you know?" said the witness.

The victim was already stripping the home when investigators say he cut support beams to get to a pipe before the home collapsed on top of him.

"I was panicking." said the witness, "I was trying to get him out. And at the same token, I couldn't do it by myself. I come out of there and have someone call 911."

"[The victim] lost vitals." said Detroit Fire Captain Anthony Braceful, "He got a heartbeat just before they took him to receiving. So hopefully, he'll live."

Firefighters say this is a tragic example of why scrapping is so dangerous.

"I understand people need money." said Braceful, "And they're scrapping to do what they do to get the money they need. It's a tremendous danger to anybody. When you enter these buildings, the likelihood of you getting crushed is not worth the risk."

Advice most scrappers should heed, but life's hurdles just don't seem to let them.

"It's a tough way to feed yourself." said the witness, "But it's also a way to eat every day."

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