Thursday, June 13, 2013

 

Inspector at Philly building collapse commits suicide

The inspector, who is unidentified at the time of this writing, reportedly shot himself in a pickup truck near his home Wednesday.


 Philadelphia building collapse: Rescue workers search through rubble following a building collapse in Philadelphia.
Reuters Photo. Rescue workers search through rubble following a building collapse in Philadelphia.
An official says an inspector who surveyed a Philadelphia building before it collapsed last week, killing six people, has committed suicide.

Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison says the inspector was found fatally shot in a pickup truck Wednesday night. The man was a Department of Licenses and Inspections employee who had inspected the building May 14.

Officials were informing department staff Thursday morning and the man's name wasn't immediately being released.

City officials are planning a news conference.

The building was being demolished when it collapsed onto a neighboring Salvation Army Thrift Store on June 5, killing two employees and four customers. Police allege a heavy equipment operator was high on marijuana when it happened.

The 42-year-old demolition equipment operator, Sean Benschop, faces six counts of involuntary manslaughter, six counts of risking catastrophe and other charges, said Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison.

Authorities have said Benschop had been using an excavator when what was left of the four-story building gave way and fell on top the neighboring store.

The city's top prosecutor is convening a grand jury to look into the collapse.

"We will not accept the status quo in the face of this tragedy," Mayor Michael Nutter said last week.
Councilman James Kenney, among others, called for a review of the demolition application and inspection process and demanded a stricter process for demolition companies.

"This is happening all over the city," he said. "I need to know who the workers are who are there, what they know, what they don't know, how they've been trained."

The city does check the condition of buildings to be torn down before demolition can begin — and inspects them again after the tear-down is finished — but does not require an inspection during demolition. A pre-demolition inspection at the site on May 14 turned up no issues, said Carlton Williams, head of the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections.MSN

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