By Molly Daly
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The owner of the vacant house in Ogontz that collapsed last night had been cited numerous times by the city’s Department of Licenses & Inspections.READ MORE: Officer Fires Gun During Struggle With Suspect Wanted For Stealing Car, Philadelphia Police Say
And public records show property taxes haven’t been paid since 2008.
“The owner’s name is Sabrina Rush, as trustee for Mary Ellen and Karlan Rush,” according to L&I spokewoman Rebecca Swanson. “She gained trusteeship in 2007, and immediately stopped taking care of the property.”
Swanson says L&I has cited the property, in the 6000 block of Ogontz Avenue, about six times since then, mostly for trash in the backyard.
In March 2010, Swanson says, L&I responded to concerns that the building may have been structurally unsafe.READ MORE: Federal Fire Safety Policy Inspired By Deadly Fairmount Fire Headed To US House Floor For Vote
“We went out, did a thorough inspection, and did not find any structural issues whatsoever,” she told KYW Newsradio today.
Swanson says each subsequent time that L&I responded to trash complaints, property maintenance inspectors saw nothing to indicate a potential structural issue.
And Swanson says that although L&I doesn’t investigate the causes of collapses, excessive snowfall — along with abrupt freeze-and-thaw cycles — can speed the deterioration of a vacant, blighted property.
Two men suffered minor injuries when the building collapsed (see previous story).
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