City Officials Promise ‘Wide Ranging’ Probe Into Center City Demolition Disaster
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By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City officials were under increasing pressure today to address whether there should have been follow-up inspections at 2136 Market Street, the site of Wednesday’s deadly collapse, before the walls tumbled down.
City officials reiterated today that the contractor hired to demolish the building met the licensing requirements. Mayor Nutter says one inspection was required prior to the start of work, and that was done on May 14th.
Department of Licenses and Inspections commissioner Carlton Williams says they did not find any unsafe conditions at that time.
“There were no subsequent questions at that point in time,” he said. “Post-secondary inspections occur when most of the material is on the ground, and (the demolition) hadn’t progress to that point yet.”
The mayor was pressed by reporters on whether freestanding walls should have been braced above a neighboring business with people inside.
“Something obviously went wrong here,” the mayor replied. “That’s what the investigation is for. The simple answer is that we have demolitions all the time with active buildings next to them. They’re done very safely in this city all the time.”
There was a complaint by a caller to the Philly 311 Contact Center on May 7th, with a man saying there were problems in the 2100 block of Market Street. When pressed by the operator he said it was 2134 Market, a building next door to the one that collapsed yesterday. The caller stated there was no adequate plan to prevent the collapse of walls.
Williams says an inspector visited the site and found no violations.