2013 IN REVIEW: Building Collapse Prompts Changes in Philadelphia Laws
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By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On June 5th, a wall collapse at a demolition site on Market Street in center city killed six people, injured many more, and sent shock waves through City Hall (see related story).
The building collapse prompted immediate finger-pointing at city officials, particularly the Department of Licenses and Inspections. Within days of the collapse, Mayor Nutter announced new restrictions on how contractors in Philadelphia obtain demolition permits.
“Our goal here is to increase public safety at these private demolition sites, to bring them up to the same high standards that we maintain on public demolition sites,” the mayor said.
City Council then formed its own committee to examine the demolition process.
“After the dust settles, we need to take a serious look at how we do demolition in the city of Philadelphia,” said the committee’s chairman, Councilman Curtis Jones.
The hearings including dramatic testimony from city treasurer Nancy Winkler, whose daughter Anne Bryan was among those killed.
Winkler faulted L&I for her daughter’s death.
“This was not a freak accident,” she told the councilmembers (see related story). “It was strictly a case of when that wall would come crashing down. Not if. It was a case of who would be killed. Not if anyone would be killed.”
Council came up with more than 70 recommendations for change in the demolition process that are expected to become law in the new year.