Contractor Responds As D.A. Says Grand Jury Will Probe Collapse - New York News

Contractor Responds As D.A. Says Grand Jury Will Probe Collapse

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PHILADELPHIA -

Central Detectives executed a search warrant some time after 5 p.m. on Monday on the house of Griffin Campbell, the contractor in charge of the demolition of the collapsed building. The search lasted about 35-40 minutes, and detectives left with a box of evidence. The investigation continues.

No one was answering questions Monday at the home of demolition contractor Griffin Campbell. He has been virtually silent until now after the building his company was demolishing collapsed, killing six people and injuring 13 more.

District Attorney Seth Williams now says a grand jury will investigate.

"The role of the grand jury will be to hear from witnesses, to gather documents, to gather information," Williams told reporters at a news conference Monday.

As OSHA investigators returned to the collapse site, Campbell's lawyer released a statement saying the demolition permits were legal. Campbell has never had an accident on a demolition job, and the excavator on site was supposed to be used for cleanup, not for demolition work. He insisted the wall that collapsed was being taken down brick by brick, not with the excavator.

Campbell's statement also claimed excavator operator Sean Benschop was highly experienced and had numerous contracts with the city. He said at no time did he know the operator was impaired as prosecutors now charge. He says OSHA, the city and the Salvation Army inspected the site during demolition.

The district attorney says there will be no rush to judgment.

"We want Philadelphians to be patient as we gather all the evidence and as we do what we think appropriate," Williams told reporters.

The D.A. added that no stone will be left unturned: "If there is evidence that one person or 20 people should be held criminally responsible and that is the recommendation of the grand jury, then one person or 20 people may be held criminally responsible for their action or in-actions."

The excavator's operator, Sean Benschop, has already been charged with six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of reckless endangerment and causing a catastrophe.

Investigators say he shouldn't have been at the controls of this giant backhoe.

"He was under the influence of a controlled substance so that he was too impaired to safely operate that crane." said Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Selber.

Investigators say they found traces of marijuana and painkillers in Benschop's blood.

Sources say he also told detectives he was using codeine.

FOX 29 asked Williams if Benschop should have been operating the multi-ton piece of equipment with his arm and hand in a soft cast.

The D.A. said the answer was obvious.

Campbell's attorney will address the media on Tuesday. OSHA investigators spent several hours on the site Monday afternoon taking pictures and measurements.

Thomas Sprague, a lawyer for property owner Richard Basciano, refused to comment citing ongoing litigation.

Campbell was unavailable for comment.

Also today, another victim shares her story.

"And I started running," she said. The only thing I could think of were my children."

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