Philly L&I Dodges Questions About 600 Inspections By 9 Rookies In One Week

A group of inexperienced and uncertified inspectors for the Department of Licenses and Inspections conducted around 600 inspections of unsafe buildings in a single week last month, The Inquirer has learned.

Each of the nine newly hired inspectors then recorded their work in L&I’s database under the name of another man, an experienced inspector with the agency.

L&I officials say the inspections were part of a training exercise for the rookies.

The inspections, from Feb. 9 through 13, were performed the same week City Controller Alan Butkovitz released a report criticizing L&I for not inspecting unsafe buildings – those that are badly damaged or deteriorated – in a timely manner.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150323_L_I_dodges_questions_about_600_inspections_by_9_rookies_in_one_week.html#E4ZoYtgCSAIfCJof.99

Half A Block Leveled Without Permits In Philadelphia

Little more than a year after a botched demolition triggered a Center City building collapse that killed six, a demolition company took down nearly half a block of buildings in Philadelphia’s Fairmount section without obtaining the required permits, an Inquirer investigation has found.

While dismantling five buildings last spring, Ashaw Demolition of Oxford Circle also brought down a house that had been in a family for four generations without informing the owner, the owner contends in court documents.

And Ashaw used at least some of the unsafe and discredited techniques that caused the collapse at 22d and Market Streets, city inspectors said.

The demolition violated tough new rules the city adopted so the tragedy of the collapse would never be repeated, inspectors said.

Read more:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Building_anxiety_at_LandI.html

Philadelphia Owed A Half-Billion Dollars In ‘Nuisance Liens’ – Maybe

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Triumph Baptist Church wanted to grow. It bought an old suit factory in North Philadelphia in 1998, hoping to tear it down and build a house of worship.

But over time, Triumph changed its plans. The vacant factory became an eyesore and hazard, leaving the city little choice but to demolish it in 2011 at a cost of $794,191 to taxpayers.

The owners were supposed to reimburse the city for the work. Three years later, they haven’t.

Thus did 1801 W. Courtland Ave. join the list of 39,391 properties with “nuisance liens” – unpaid bills for sealing, cleaning, or demolition done at taxpayer expense by the Department of Licenses and Inspections. Work that building owners were supposed to pay for but didn’t.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/city/20140428_Philadelphia_owed_a_half-billion_in__nuisance_liens__-_maybe.html#IOycmdpuHCt3lXeF.99

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Open For Risky Business: Philadelphia’s Vacant Properties

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With its broken plywood door and faded graffiti, the former hosiery mill on Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia’s Fishtown section is a contrast to the quarter-million-dollar townhouses and upscale lofts nearby.

1101 Frankford is not just a four-story eyesore, says Thomas Fasone, who owns an antique lighting shop next door. He rates it a magnet for trouble.

“It’s so easy to get into these buildings,” says Fasone, who has complained to the city. “They can go in to keep warm, start a fire, do drugs, fall asleep, and a fire breaks out.”

The place is supposed to be sealed. But on two recent visits, an Inquirer reporter found it open. The owners have problems, too. One of them, a Drexel Hill man, is accused of dealing marijuana

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/city/20140310_Open_for_risky_business__Phila__s_vacant_properties.html#5hYIOdF5lTCuGBHK.99

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Building Collapses In Philadelphia; 2 People Trapped

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighti...

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighting Center City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PHILADELPHIA — A four-story building being demolished collapsed today on the edge of downtown Philadelphia, injuring 12 people and trapping two others, the fire commissioner said.

Rescue crews were trying to extricate the two people who were trapped, city Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said. The dozen people who were injured were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, he said.

The collapse involved a building that once housed a first-floor sandwich shop and apartments above.  It collapsed, sending debris onto a Salvation Army corner thrift store next door.  The two are adjacent to an adult bookstore and theater that had been taken down earlier.

Rescuers were using buckets and their bare hands to move bricks and rubble to search for survivors.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=482938