Parents file suit, call for panel over building collapse

MICHAEL BRYANT / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Anne Bryan , 24, was killed in the June collapse at 22nd and Market streets. Her parents are calling for action in the aftermath.
MICHAEL BRYANT / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Anne Bryan , 24, was killed in the June collapse at 22nd and Market streets. Her parents are calling for action in the aftermath.
Posted: September 19, 2013

CITY TREASURER Nancy Winkler and her husband, Jay Bryan, are calling for a blue-ribbon panel of national safety and engineering experts to investigate the devastating June 5 Center City building collapse that claimed the life of their daughter, Anne Bryan.

The couple discussed the need for the panel yesterday at a news conference with their lawyer, Robert Mongeluzzi. They also announced that they had filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against several parties, including Richard Basciano and STB Investments Corp., which owned 2136-38 Market St., a haphazardly demolished property that collapsed onto a neighboring Salvation Army thrift shop.

Anne Bryan, 24, was donating clothes to the thrift shop when it was flattened by the falling debris. Five other people, including Bryan's friend, Mary Simpson, 24, were killed, and 13 others were injured.

Winkler said a blue-ribbon panel could ensure that "in the future, citizens in the city of Philadelphia can feel confident as they walk the streets and enter buildings that they will be safe."

"This is a horror," she added. "This is something that doesn't happen in the developed world."

Jay Bryan said the family's grief over the loss of their daughter, who was a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, only deepened when they learned about emails that STB and Salvation Army officials exchanged about the possibility of a collapse - several weeks before the catastrophe.

The Salvation Army is also named in the suit, along with demolition contractor Griffin T. Campbell and expediter Plato Marinakos Jr., who secured the demolition permits for Campbell's firm.

Sean Benschop, a backhoe operator who was charged with being under the influence of marijuana and codeine while working at the site, was denied a request yesterday to have his $1.6 million bail lowered.

Winkler said she went for a bike ride with her daughter a few hours before the collapse.

"She was happy and excited about her day. She showed me the clothes she was going to donate to the Salvation Army," Winkler said.

Her voice dropped. "That's my last memory of Anne, looking beautiful and happy."


On Twitter: @dgambacorta

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