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.