Mother Of 9 Among Victims Killed In Philly Building Collapse - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Mother Of 9 Among Victims Killed In Philly Building Collapse

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PHILADELPHIA -

Beyond the names of the victims in this week's building collapse that killed six people are, of course, stories.

Those include the lives they lived, the choices they made, and the fluke circumstances that put them inside that ill-fated Salvation Army Thrift Store when the walls came tumbling down.

In a steady rain that could have been mistaken for tears of mourning, they came. Friends and family packed a tiny Southwest Philadelphia row home to share food and drink and stories Friday about Roseline Conteh.

The 52-year-old native of Sierra Leone in Western Africa had nine children.

Those who knew her best suggest there were many, many more.

"She always look after extended family, uncles, grandfathers," said Roseline's cousin, Alfred Koroma. "She was a mother to us all."

"I don't even know what to do right now, because I'm just, I'm confused," said Kadiatu Conteh, the older sister who brought Roseline to this country a decade ago to escape the turmoil back home.

Roseline studied hard, became a certified nursing assistant. She loved working with the elderly.

It was her compassion that may have cost her her life.

She was inside the Salvation Army's 22nd and Market street thrift store Wednesday morning doing what she often did, buying clothing to send back home.

"To Sierra Leone, just to donate to those who were unable to come and get what is good here in America," Koroma said.

Despite the best efforts of first-responders and perfect strangers, Roseline Conteh did not survive the building collapse. It was left to her cousin to identify her body for authorities.

"What went through your mind when you saw her like that?" FOX 29's Bruce Gordon asked.

"I was broke in spirit," Koroma said.

As friends and family mourn her death, bags of used clothing bought by Roseline for those less fortunate sit piled in corner as a reminder of her life.

She came to America to escape the violence of civil war and died serving those still struggling to survive.

Roseline's husband is back in Sierra Leone. The extended family is now trying to decide whether she will be buried here or there.

It is a decision forced upon them all too early by cruel circumstances, FOX 29's Bruce Gordon reported.

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