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TV EXCLUSIVE: I-Team Interview With Contractor In Center City Building Collapse

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

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The contractor involved with the June 5th building collapse at 22d and Market that killed six and injured 13 wants the right to resume demolition work.

And only CBS 3 cameras were rolling as he appeared at an appeals hearing before licensing officials.

CBS 3 Investigative Reporter Walt Hunter went face to face with contractor Griffin Campbell, looking for answers about the collapse.

Hunter wanted to know Campbell’s thoughts about the collapse and what procedures he had authorized at the site.

Griffin wasn’t talking, but his attorney, William Hobson, accused the city of depriving Campbell of his right to make a living, by suspending his license, before a grand jury has determined if he played any role in the tragic collapse.

The city has temporarily suspended Campbell’s license to operate but wants to permanently remove it. The appeals hearing was continued after Campbell and his attorney made a brief appearance at which he made no statement.

A worker hired by Campbell’s firm, Sean Benschop, who was operating an excavator at the site when the collapse occurred, has now been criminally charged after, investigators say, they found evidence of marijuana in a blood test.

Benschop was using a powerful piece of mechanical equipment, called an excavator, when a four-story wall, towering above a Salvation Army store, suddenly crashed down. An attorney for Campbell, who is not charged with any wrongdoing, has previously said that the contractor wanted the site demolished by hand, and did not authorize the use of the construction equipment.

In the appeal, seeking to get Campbell’s license restored, his attorney claims there is “no factual basis of completed investigation to support the allegations of ‘unsafe demolition practices’.

Attorney Andrew Duffy, whose firm represents several victims of the collapse, responded that, ”to say there were no unsafe demolition practices is a disgrace.”

It is not known when a final decision will be made on whether Campbell will retain his license and stay in business.

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