Demolition Reforms Coming After Building Collapse - New York News

Demolition Reforms Coming After Building Collapse

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PHILADELPHIA -

In the days after the building collapse that killed six people and injured more than a dozen in Center City, officials are shedding light on some things that happened before the disaster.

And they're promising to make sure they don't happen again.

Mayor Michael Nutter talked about that during a Friday afternoon news conference, and he also announced an investigation of some of his own employees, FOX 29's Jeff Cole reported.

The mayor has unleashed his highly-successful Inspector General Amy Kurland to investigate possible wrongdoing on the part of city workers as you say in this week's tragic collapse.

Also on Friday, Nutter said he was sorry.

It took a mid-press conference pow-wow and shouted questions, but the city now admits a required inspection of the ill-fated demo job at 2136 Market St. was not done just before work started.

"Again, the contractor did not notify the department that work had began on 2134," said Commissioner Carlton Williams, of the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections.

When Cole interjected and asked if that site includes 2136, the site of the four-story building that actually came down, Nutter answered, "It's all one site."

"So, he didn't call you," Cole said.

"Correct," answered Williams.

"We've said that," added Nutter.

That contractor is Campbell Construction of North Philly whose workers were captured on tape last Sunday tearing at the Market Street building.

Campbell Construction was permitted to do the work. Records show its owner, Griffin Campbell, has a criminal record and tax problems.

"I want to first apologize to the victims and their families, to the survivors and their families for what happened in our great city on Wednesday," Nutter said.

After saying he was sorry, Nutter announced a series of demolition reforms including, contractors and company owners showing they have demolition experience, a site safety plan must be drawn up to protect pedestrians, and contractors cannot get a permit with active violations.

"In hindsight, we can all wish that matters were handled differently so that death and injury did not occur," the mayor said.

Nutter also says inspectors are now moving throughout the city looking for problems at other demolition sites. It's all in an effort to avoid future tragedies but action likely to be seen as too little too late.

Late Friday, the city pushed back against criticism, releasing a picture of 2136 Market taken by an OSHA inspector back on May 15, the day after the city inspected.

The photo seems to back the city's claim that when its inspector showed up, no demolition had started on the structure that later collapsed.

And we visited a demo site Friday in the city, a different one that had been seen by inspectors twice in two days. No problems were found, Cole reported.

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