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Inspector Who Committed Suicide Leaves Recorded Message

(credit: CBS) Walt Hunter
Eyewitness News Reporter Walt Hunter is one of the market's ...
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By: Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –  Eyewitness News is learning new details about the L&I inspector who committed suicide after the deadly Philadelphia building collapse.

He left a video message.

“It wasn’t my fault.” City officials say those are the words, unmistakable, clearly audible, left on a video message by the L&I inspector, who had inspect the site of a deadly building collapse. Those words said moments before he took his own life Wednesday night (See Previous Story).

City officials now say L&I inspector Ronald Wagenhoffer, still wearing his blue uniformed shirt, propped a cell phone camera onto the dashboard on his truck, recording two messages, including one to his wife and young son, before shooting, and killing himself, a few blocks from his home Wednesday night.

Wagenhoffer, the final, and only inspector, to check the site prior to the June 5th collapse that killed six and injured 13, says in part of one message according to officials, “it wasn’t my fault. I could not sleep. I was devastated by the deaths and injuries.”

“Reports that say that he’s saying it was his fault, I don’t believe that and I stand by the fact that he did his job on that day and I’ll back him until I’m proven otherwise,” said Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison.

In another part of the same message, according to city officials, Wagenhoffer speaks regretfully about not getting out of his truck and perhaps taking action at some point. But officials say that he did everything properly, including conducting a May 14th inspection following a citizen’s complaint. Wagenhoffer’s regrets, officials say, apparently referred to a three week period prior to the collapse, during which, he may have driven by, but was not required under city code to perform any additional inspections.

“Consummate professional and I support him,” said Gillison.

Counseling is now being offered to all of the fellow workers of Wagenhoffer.  Meanwhile five investigations are underway into the cause of what happened at here, including an investigative grand jury convened by the district attorney.

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