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Attorney For Demolition Contractor Says Deadly Collapse Was Not His Client’s Fault

By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The attorney representing a demolition contractor involved in last week’s deadly building collapse in center city says his client is not to blame.

Kenneth Edelin notes that contractor Griffin Campbell was on site when the 40-foot wall collapsed onto the Salvation Army Thrift Store, killing six people and injuring more than a dozen others (see related story).

“He was scared to death like everybody else,” Edelin said today.

And Edelin says Griffin cooperated with police and OSHA after the accident.

He also defends subcontractor Sean Benschop — but only to a point — calling him an experienced pro in the field of demolition.

Edelin says his client can’t explain Benschops’ use of an excavator to bring down a wall that was supposed to be removed brick by brick.

“If Benschop was using the excavator to do demolition on that part of the wall, then he was doing something that he was not supposed to do per the instructions of Mr. Campbell,” Edelin says.

According to Edelin, Campbell gave specific orders to use the excavator for debris removal only.

Benschop faces six counts of involuntary manslaughter and other charges (see related story).  Edelin notes that inspectors from the city, OSHA, and the Salvation Army had visited the site after demolition began and gave approval to the work.





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