A demolition crew uncovered the body of a woman after tearing down a home on Daniel Street in Southeast Atlanta Saturday morning, NBC station WXIA reported.
"We do not know if this was due to the demolition, or if it happened the night before," said Atlanta Fire Battalion Chief Todd Edwards.
However, witnesses told TV station WSB that the woman was inside then the building when the building came down. They said the demolition crew heard a cry about an hour into the job, which started at the back of the house and worked toward the front.
Robert Elliott told WSB he was the first to arrive at the demolished house. "Me and some other people cleared right here," Elliot said. "I was watching the backhoe turn and as he turned I heard a woman moan."
"So she must have been in a state where she couldn't perceive the world around her, she had ample time to say 'hey' and get out," Elliot said.
Witness Tony Daniels told WSB, "Second truck, they started filling that up, and that's when we heard 'ahhh,' you know like that."
Contractors said they walked through the home before the demolition to make sure no one was inside.
"With the vacant structures we do have in the city of Atlanta, and with our homeless problem in this city we are very fortunate we do not have any more tragedies like this," Edwards said.
After finding the woman's body in the middle of the home, firefighters spent more than an hour picking up pieces of debris by hand, and using cameras and listening equipment to make sure no other people were inside the house.
The medical examiner is working to determine when the woman died and how, which could take days. She was not identified by late Saturday night.