August 17, 2013 |
Philadelphia City Council will introduce legislation next month to strengthen the regulation of demolition practices, requiring contractors to develop safety plans and post them at every demolition site, along with the names of building owners, contractors, subcontractors, and city inspectors who signed off on the plans, according to the chairman of a special Council committee. "We want the contractors to say how they're going to do the demolition, whether it's by hand or with heavy equipment, what they're going to do to protect other buildings, and it will be listed at the site so people will be able to walk up and say, 'Where's that shoring for the wall over there?
August 16, 2013 |
A CITY COUNCIL committee tasked with investigating June's fatal building collapse concluded its fifth and final hearing yesterday with vows to step up government oversight of demolition work. "This isn't the end. This is the beginning," said Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., chairman of the five-member Special Investigative Committee on Demolition Practices. "We will never, ever again go back to a laissez-faire [approach to demolitions]. We were derelict in our duties. " The committee, appointed by Council President Darrell Clarke, was formed in the wake of the wall collapse at 22nd and Market streets on June 5 that killed six people inside the adjacent Salvation Army Thrift Store.
August 2, 2013 |
Under gray skies and drenching rains Thursday morning, construction crews in Camden started to tear away at the facade of the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. store, almost two months after demolition started June 5. While much of the rear of the structure on the Admiral Wilson Boulevard now lies in a pile of bricks and steel, the front facade and the side facing Memorial Avenue remained largely intact until Thursday. About 9 a.m., workers from Winzinger Inc. of Hainesport slowly began taking out large chunks of the top of the facade, transforming the front of the building into a skeleton of steel girders.
July 26, 2013 |
City Controller Alan Butkovitz is planning an audit of city demolition practices, at least the fourth investigation spurred by a deadly Center City building collapse last month. The Controller's Office sent a letter Wednesday to the commissioner of licenses and inspections, Carlton Williams, saying it intended to audit "the policies and procedures" used by L&I and other agencies to monitor private and publicly funded demolition projects. "The objective of this audit will be to evaluate the adequacy of the inspection and enforcement procedures pertaining to building demolitions, including the 300 demolitions the city reportedly inspected after the June 5, 2013, Market Street building collapse," Deputy City Controller Gerald V. Micciulla told Williams.
July 21, 2013 |
After weeks of withholding records related to the Center City building collapse, the Nutter administration reversed course Friday, releasing hundreds of pages of e-mails, inspection reports, and other documents, and posting them on a city website. The administration continued to insist that "some or all of these records" might be exempt from disclosure under state law. But the mayor's office said "the city has, in its discretion, concluded that the public interest is better served by their release.
July 18, 2013
Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger acknowledged Tuesday that he did not alert city building inspectors after he was warned in May of dangerous conditions at the Market Street demolition site. Within an hour of receiving that warning, Greenberger said, he got another e-mail suggesting the problems were being resolved. Story, B1.
July 18, 2013
What's a human life worth? Apparently not enough when it came to weighing the possibility that someone might die if a Philadelphia building wasn't demolished properly. Although they were warned of that danger, none of the people who could have prevented a tragedy acted before the worst thing imaginable occurred. The demolition of a Center City building went ahead and, on June 5, caused a wall to fall on an adjacent Salvation Army thrift store, killing six people and injuring 13. How do we know there were missed opportunities to prevent deaths and injuries?
July 15, 2013 |
In the weeks before the deadly Market Street collapse, the building's owner repeatedly warned top city officials and Salvation Army officials that the demolition could endanger the adjacent Salvation Army thrift store. But that did not prompt the city to step in. Nor did it stop the owner from rapidly demolishing the building - with devastating consequences. E-mails and letters reviewed by The Inquirer show repeated warnings about a possible collapse with potentially deadly results.
July 13, 2013
More than a month after the fatal building collapse at 22d and Market Streets, Mayor Nutter is still withholding pertinent public records. Nutter, who promised voters a transparent government, says it's because a grand jury is investigating the collapse. But the office of District Attorney Seth Williams, which is overseeing the investigation, says Nutter does not have to suppress public information. Reinforcing public-records experts' analysis, a Williams spokeswoman said in a statement that "there is no reason that public officials cannot discuss issues of public policy arising from publicly available facts and materials.
July 13, 2013 |
On a sunny Saturday morning in June, a four-bedroom, 1,700-square-foot home in Radnor was facing a death sentence. The house was no more than 65 years old, but by the following Tuesday, it would be coming down to make way for something bigger and better, or at least more current. Its demise, though, would not be in vain. Enter Kevin Tobin, the man behind Pre-Demolition Sales. Owners call him in ahead of the wrecking ball - sometimes at the last minute - and he inventories everything from roof tiles to flooring, HVAC systems, wainscoting, shrubs, and patios, scrawling prices in marker on the soon-to-be-razed walls.