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Developer Says Old City Building Came Down ‘Controlled,’ Not ‘Collapsed’

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By Mike DeNardo and Matt Rivers

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –- A demolition site in Old City Philadelphia drew emergency responders this afternoon when debris from the building landed in the middle of Third Street.

The call to the fire department came in around 1:20pm.  The site is the former “Shirt Corner” building, a once-landmark business at Third and Market Streets.  The building was being demolished to make way for new, low-rise construction of a CVS pharmacy and apartments (see related story).

Demolition started about a week ago.  Today, demolition crews stopped traffic on Third Street and an adjacent sidewalk just before one section of the building came down suddenly, sending bricks and other materials into the street.

The pedestrian walkway, separated by barricades from the demolition site on one side and the street on the other, was awash in several feet of debris.

A public relations firm representing the developer was quickly on the scene, saying the incident was part of a controlled demolition that happened as expected and was not a “building collapse,” as first reported by some news organizations.

Mark Christof, Superintendent of the work site says, “We had people positioned all around to make sure nobody would be in danger.”

And no one was injured.

Still, for neighbors nearby, it brought back memories from the 22nd and market street collapse an uneasy afternoon in Old City.

Bruce Goodmam lives next to the site. He says, “I’m stunned. It’s incredibly lucky that nobody got hurt.  Because they didn’t close off enough of the street or the sidewalk.”

A backhoe and a front-end loader were on site, quickly clearing debris from the pedestrian walkway and the driving lanes of Third Street so that traffic could  resume.

The only reports of damage, a Lexus parked nearby that got hit by a falling brick.

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