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Deputy Mayor Confirms Receipt of Warning E-mails Before Deadly Building Collapse

(Cleanup continued the day after the building collapse that killed at least six people in center city Philadelphia.  Credit: Jericka Duncan)

(Cleanup continued the day after the building collapse that killed at least six people in center city Philadelphia. Credit: Jericka Duncan)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A top aide to Mayor Michael Nutter is now confirming a published report that he received e-mails from the owner of the building that collapsed last month on Market Street warning of potential danger at the site.

Nutter’s press office has released a statement from commerce director Alan Greenberger in which he confirms receipt of the e-mails first reported last Sunday by the Inquirer.

The May e-mails from representatives of the owner of the building at 22nd and Market Streets included warnings about the safety of the Salvation Army Thrift Shop while the demolition of the neighboring building was in progress.

In an e-mail, Greenberger was asked to intervene because the building manager felt the Salvation Army was not being cooperative.

In his statement, the commerce director says he did not intervene because with a subsequent e-mail from the building’s manager, he came to believe that the two sides were in fact working together to resolve the issues.

The building collapsed onto the Salvation Army store two weeks later, killing six (see related story).

A Salvation Army spokesperson said the agency would not comment.   Calls to the building’s owner were not returned.

With criminal charges against a demolition operator (see related story), and with civil litigation already proceeding (related story) and more to come, the issue of prior warnings to the Salvation Army and to city officials will likely remain a key issue in the aftermath of the collapse.