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Center City Building Collapse Raises Questions

Liz-Hur-web-headshot Elizabeth Hur
Elizabeth Hur has joined CBS 3 (KYW-TV) as a general assign...
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By Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Six people are dead and at least 14 people were injured following a building collapse in Center City Philadelphia Wednesday morning.

As crews dig for answers, questions remain – how could this happen and could this have been prevented?

“We’ll answer that at an appropriate time. We have an active investigation going on right now,” said Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Carlton Williams.

Authorities can confirm this much so far, the building that has been reduced by rubble is owned by STB Investments Corp. and associates, including real estate mogul Richard Basciano, known for owning adult entertainment theaters in New York and Philadelphia (see previous story).

Officials say and records confirm a local contractor, Griffin Campbell, was hired for demolition work and permits were issued in February.

“When you go to New York, there’s scaffolding everywhere,”  said said Dr. Abi Aghayere, a structural engineer at Drexel University.

Dr.Aghayere told us via Skype he questions if contractors used enough safety measures to secure the work.

“That said, I also expected that, you know, there will be inspection of this demolition going on,” said Dr. Aghayere.

Records provided by the city show several inspections were performed and each time it is noted inspections passed.

In response, the building owners released this statement:

“At this point, like everyone else, we are just trying to get our arms around this terrible tragedy and determine exactly what happened. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.”

As for the contractor, Griffin Campbell, he declined to comment.