Last seen working in the basement of the Salvation Army thrift store at 22d and Market Streets, Liberian immigrant Borbor Davis, 68, had been missing since the building collapsed about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.
More than 10 hours later, his wife, Maggie, 74, sitting by the phone at their house in Darby, got the call she had dreaded.
"I'm not all right," she said, as she wept softly. "He passed."
She gave the phone to her daughter, MaryAnne Mason, who was Borbor's stepdaughter.
"We're grieving," Mason said. "My mother is in a state of shock. She keeps saying, 'Oh, God. Oh, God. My baby, my baby.' She hasn't stopped crying."
About a dozen family and friends gathered in the Davises' living room Wednesday night.
Mason said her mother received a call from the hospital about 9:15 p.m. informing her that her husband had died.
"She just fell over, collapsed," she said. "We are trying to keep the family together, and we're praying to get through this."
Mason said she didn't fully grasp that there was something wrong until she watched the 6 p.m. news with Nutter's news conference. She said it was at that point that it hit her.
"I had no idea," she said. "I had faith. I didn't think anything bad had happened. Then I watched the news."
The family's pastor, Moses Suah-Dennis of Faith-Immanuel Lutheran in East Lansdowne, said, "We're just trying to comfort the family right now. It's very sad."
Borbor Davis, who came to the United States eight years ago, had worked at the secondhand store in Center City for five years doing a variety of jobs, from "tagging used clothes to selling them," Maggie Davis said earlier Wednesday evening. She saw him when he left for work Wednesday morning, she said, and spoke with him briefly around 10:30 a.m.
A short while later, her daughter MaryAnne called and said, "Mommy, put on the TV."
That's how she learned that her husband's workplace had been almost totally crushed.