Lawyers Slam Demolition Work At Center City Philadelphia Collapse Site

PHILADELPHIA – Attorneys for four people suing over the collapse of a downtown building that killed six people last week lambasted the demolition work after surveying the site Sunday.

Lawyers and consultants walked gingerly on piles of debris, indicating to photographers and videographers what they wanted documented. Meanwhile, other consultants on a hoist far above scanned the site where a four-story building under demolition gave way and toppled onto an attached Salvation Army thrift store Wednesday, killing two employees and four customers and injuring 13 others.

Afterward, attorney Robert Mongeluzzi, who said his firm represents three plaintiffs in lawsuits against the property owner and contractor, said his initial examination indicated that the building that collapsed had brick-bearing walls and wooden girders without steel support and should have been demolished by hand rather than using heavy equipment. In addition, he said, the backhoe appeared to not be high enough to pull the wall down on the side away from the thrift store.

“Of course, a demolition from the top down by hand would have been much more time-consuming and expensive but was really the only way to get this done safely,” he said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130609_ap_lawyersslamdemolitionworkatpacollapsesite.html#ibzXi0JbVdKrHgE2.99

Source: Machine Operator In Collapse To Be Charged

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

The 42-year-old man who was operating the excavator in Wednesday’s building collapse in Center City will be charged with risking and causing a catastrophe and six counts of involuntary manslaughter, a senior law enforcement official told The Inquirer on Friday.

Blood tests revealed marijuana in Sean Benschop’s system at levels that “he was unfit to perform safety-sensitive, job-related duties,” according to a toxicology report.

Benschop, who has also used the name Kary Roberts, according to court records, will additionally be charged with reckless endangerment and will face other charges from the injuries to 14 victims of the collapse.

The charges of causing a catastrophe and risking a catastrophe are felonies.  The involuntary-manslaughter charges are first-degree misdemeanors.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130608_Source__Machine_operator_in_collapse_to_be_charged.html#6r84qROfFDJVp5xO.99

Where’s The Collapsed Building’s Owner?

I STOPPED by the super swank Symphony House residences yesterday to have a chat with Richard Basciano about his killer building.

“Is he expecting you?” the cranky concierge asked.

Well, I didn’t know if the owner of the crumbling building that flattened a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store was expecting me.  But he should’ve been expecting someone – like officials from the city seeking answers about his choice of a discount demolition crew, for starters.

Basciano’s company paid some insta-demolition crew $10,000 for a job demo experts said should have cost closer to $250,000.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130609_Stop_hiding__Richard_Basciano.html#eIFpQjReFm5KIPiW.99