Cops: Man, 30, electrocuted during unlicensed labor

Posted: May 30, 2014

A MAN WAS electrocuted yesterday after a contractor allegedly ignored warnings by the city's Licenses and Inspections Department to stop work on a West Philadelphia building, police said.

About 2:20 p.m., officers were called to the Lansdowne apartments, on Parkside Avenue near 41st Street, for reports of an injured worker. They found the victim, who had been shocked while performing demolition work on the first floor, said Lt. John Walker, of Southwest Detectives.

Emergency medical personnel took the man - who was believed to be about 30 but police were unable to identify last night - to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he died about an hour later.

During interviews with three other workers inside the building, investigators pieced together the following account, Walker said:

A contractor was hired by the building's owner to fix a foundation wall, which had been deemed unsafe by L&I. No other labor was permitted inside the building until those repairs were made.

The contractor allegedly picked up the four workers outside a nearby Home Depot, promising to pay cash for their labor. He took them to the Lansdowne, where, in defiance of L&I's warnings, they performed demolition work for which the contractor did not have a permit.

During the afternoon, the victim used wire cutters to snip a power line that was still active, and was electrocuted.

L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams confirmed in a statement last night that a "make-safe permit" was issued May 12 to fix the building's floor joists, struts used to support foundations.

That permit was issued to Dagan Construction LLC, who didn't return calls for comment last night.

It's unclear if charges would be filed against that contractor, Walker said, pending further investigation.

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