Video Released Of Deadly Building Collapse In Center City
By Walt Hunter, Todd Quinones
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – SEPTA released video Thursday of the June 5th deadly building collapse in Center City (see previous story).
The video was captured by a surveillance camera aboard a SEPTA bus.
The video shows as the wall comes crashing down on top of a Salvation Army Thrift shop, located at 22nd and Market Streets. Some are able to run from the collapse, one man falling into the street, a huge cloud of dust enveloping the intersection.
WATCH: Surveillance Video Of Center City Building Collapse
Inside, six people died and 13 others were injured in the collapse, including Betty Brown.
Brown’s attorney Bernard Smalley viewed the video for the first time.
“It is an incredible piece of footage. You see the full range of human emotion,” said Smalley.
The camera catches several people running toward the collapse site, risking their lives to find those who are now trapped. Still others simply walk past the collapse almost as if nothing had happened.
“You can see from that debris from the collapse, anyone who got out alive, obviously a number of people did not, anyone who got out alive has to feel blessed,” said Smalley.
Moments later, the SEPTA camera catches the first fire units responding from their station less than a block away, immediately heading into the rubble for a rescue effort that would not end for nearly 14 hours, until the last living victim would be pulled out alive in the moments approaching midnight.
Robert Mongeluzzi represents a victim who was killed and six others injured.
He says the video when matched with this picture now reveals the excavator was turned away from the wall just about 10 seconds after the collapse, indicating the operator Sean Benschop may not have been using the excavator to knock the wall down when it collapsed.
“You can see the excavator arm is pointed away from the wall. This accident occurred because of lack of planning,” Mongeluzzi said.
This comes as Philadelphia City Council continues its hearings on the collapse at 22nd and Market Streets.
A committee is reviewing demolition practices in the city.
The operator of the excavator, Sean Benschop, is facing six counts of involuntary manslaughter.
His attorney says his client is innocent and he did nothing wrong.