2 freed from fallen house, 3rd collapse of week

Mark Matthews and nephew Tony Baker Jr. got out OK.
Mark Matthews and nephew Tony Baker Jr. got out OK.
Posted: August 20, 2011

IN THE THIRD building collapse this week, two construction workers were injured yesterday morning when a North Philadelphia rowhouse crumbled, temporarily trapping them inside.

The men, ages 41 and 51, were treated at Temple University Hospital for injuries not deemed to be life-threatening, Fire Department spokesman Chief William Dell said, after the 9 a.m. incident on Boston Street near 9th.

Firefighters had to extricate them after the house collapsed.

Maura Kennedy, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Licenses & Inpsections, said inspectors are investigating why the house crumbled, but noted the men were working without a building permit. L&I issued a violation notice and ordered the owner to hire an engineer to evaluate the structure and a licensed contractor to shore it up, Kennedy added.

The incident came three days after two other buildings crumbled in other parts of the city.

On Tuesday, a wall in a Frankford church at Griscom and Orthodox streets collapsed; the church, which no longer hosted religious services, was used as a gathering place for community groups. That night, part of a three-story apartment building collapsed on 15th Street near Clymer in South Philadelphia, smashing a car parked curbside.

No injuries were reported in either incident.

Authorities suspect the recent heavy rains, coupled with the advanced age of the buildings, produced perfect conditions for collapse.

This month is the rainiest August on record in Philadelphia, according to Fox 29 weather producer Harry Holmes. The record was broken Thursday. More than a foot of rain has fallen so far, the National Weather Service reported.

"Rain, severe weather, all of that, can put distressed buildings under further stress," Kennedy said. "If you're a homeowner, make sure your facade is intact, that no walls are bowed or cracked, and that it's structurally sound."

She urged residents who see "potentially dangerous" structures to call 3-1-1 "and we will go out and inspect."

|
|
|
|
|