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NEWS
October 7, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Three months behind on his contract to demolish a four-story Center City building and frustrated by the Salvation Army's refusal to let his workers on the adjacent roof of its thrift store, contractor Griffin Campbell came up with another plan. For three nights before the deadly June 5, 2013 collapse that killed six people, Campbell had two workers take a ladder, climb atop the Salvation Army's roof, and try to reduce an unsupported three-story brick wall under cover of darkness.
NEWS
October 1, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Opening statements are set for Wednesday afternoon in the Philadelphia murder trial of a demolition contractor accused of causing the deadly 2013 Center City building collapse that killed six people and injured 13. A 12-member Common Pleas Court jury and three alternates were selected Tuesday, and Judge Glenn B. Bronson and prosecution and defense lawyers will spend Wednesday morning picking two more alternate jurors for the estimated four-week-long trial....
NEWS
September 30, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
It towered over its neighbors, but in 123 years, nothing so distinguished the four-story brick building at 2136-38 Market St. as the way it came down. It is 10:41 a.m. on June 5, 2013, and the sunny, late-spring morning is ruptured by the roar of falling masonry and an enveloping cloud of dust. The adjacent single-story Salvation Army thrift store, which has anchored the corner at 22d Street since 1948, disappears under debris, killing six people and seriously injuring 13. The collapse was one of the most significant events in the city's modern history, and on Tuesday, a judge and lawyers will begin selecting 12 Philadelphians who will decide whether Griffin Campbell, a 51-year-old Hunting Park demolition contractor, should be held criminally liable for what happened.
NEWS
July 23, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
The operator of a 36,000-pound excavator working at the scene of the 2013 Salvation Army thrift store collapse that killed six people and injured 13 pleaded guilty Tuesday in a deal that could limit his prison time to 10 to 20 years. Sean Benschop, 44, pleaded guilty to six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 12 of reckless endangerment, and one of aggravated assault in the June 5, 2013, collapse of an unsupported wall that crushed the store at 22d and Market Streets. The deal with prosecutors spared Benschop a possible term of life in prison without parole had he been found guilty of multiple counts of third-degree murder.
NEWS
June 8, 2015 | By Kevin Riordan, Inquirer Columnist
Since the Salvation Army began serving on Camden's front lines in 1880, perhaps 100 commanding officers have headed the city corps. But the arrival of Majors Terry and Susan Wood and the departure of Majors Paul and Alma Cain is big news for the city and region. The reason is the $90 million, 120,000-square-foot Camden Kroc Center, a magnificent complex of recreational, human service, and worship facilities that has attracted 7,000 members - and a visit from President Obama - since opening in October.
NEWS
June 7, 2015 | By Maria Panaritis, Inquirer Staff Writer
The fire chief did not hesitate. He walked into a room at the West Philadelphia nursing home and headed straight for the woman in the wheelchair. Hers was the voice he had heard cry "help" after 13 hours buried alive. The extraordinary encounter Friday between Mariya Plekan and John O'Neill was their first since he, then a Fire Department captain, rescued her from the rubble of a deadly demolition collapse two years earlier. "Hello, Mariya," O'Neill said. "Hello," she replied, looking up at the tall man. She could not rise to embrace the person who had saved her from the near-suffocating debris that had confined her in darkness for half a day. Her legs and her hip joints have been amputated.
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Philadelphia judge is considering a defense motion that would bar prosecutors from using the results of blood tests on the excavator operator involved in 2013's building collapse that flattened a Salvation Army thrift store, killing six people. Common Pleas Court Judge Glenn B. Bronson ordered defense lawyer William Davis and Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron to return to court Thursday, when he might rule. In a hearing Wednesday, Davis argued that police did not have probable cause to order a hospital nurse to test the blood of Sean Benschop as he lay on a gurney shortly after the June 5, 2013, collapse at 2136 Market St. Benschop, 43, and Griffin Campbell, 51, the demolition contractor who hired Benschop, were each charged with six counts of third-degree murder - one for each person killed - and 13 counts of reckless endangerment for each of those injured.
NEWS
March 13, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
LITTLE DID Robert Dixon know when he saw the attractive girl walking past the playground of Edison High School that getting to know her would change his life. Robert was in 11th grade at the time, and he was instantly attracted to the girl as she walked by the playground, her head down, arms loaded with books. He called out a greeting a couple of times, before deciding he'd better introduce himself. She was Hester Eliza Burgess, who was attending Kensington High School, but, more important, and life-altering for both of them, was that she was involved with the Salvation Army.
NEWS
November 27, 2014 | By Marcus Biddle, Inquirer Staff Writer
What does it take to make Thanksgiving dinner for 1,000 people? About eight volunteers, and about 700 pounds of turkey, and equal portions of mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato pies and green beans. On Monday evening, a group from the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia began preparing homemade dinners they'll serve this Thanksgiving holiday. By Tuesday afternoon, they were finishing their prep work, which will be presented Thursday at the Salvation Army's Soups On!
NEWS
November 26, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Philadelphia judge has loosened - but not lifted - an order barring comment from lawyers and witnesses in the criminal trial over last year's deadly collapse of a Salvation Army thrift store in Center City. Rather than a "blanket order" prohibiting any out-of-court comments to reporters, requested by the District Attorney's Office, Common Pleas Court Judge Glenn B. Bronson said Monday that he would rely on the section of the American Bar Association's professional code for lawyers dealing with trial publicity.
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