Drexel professor, engineer reflects on How and Why of building collapse

Building collapse at 22nd and Market streets. in Philadelphia. Credit: Metro
Building collapse at 22nd and Market streets. in Philadelphia. Credit: Metro

Drexel University Associate Professor Robert Brehm said there is no easy answer to the question of the day: Was the building properly secured by demolition crews?

“When you’re demolishing an old building, it’s not a science,” said Brehm, who teaches in Drexel’s department of civil, architectural and environmental engineering.

“We’re not going in there and doing precision cutting,” Brehm added. “And when you have old buildings, it’s hard to predict exactly how they are going to respond.”

Brehm, who has more than 40 years experience in construction, said if he was working on this demolition project, he would look to the close proximity of other buildings.

He said it appears the mason wall of the four-story building fell outward, toward the thrift store, as opposed to inward into the demolition, and that led to the collapse.

“It’s coming down one way or the other,” he said. “It’s either going to fall to the left or fall to the right. I don’t know know what caused it to fall outward as opposed to inward, but you’re starting with a very unstable structure.”

If he was investigating this project, he said the first question he would ask is, “What were the protocols and procedures?”

“I would have made sure I secured the site,” he said. “And what does that mean? That means taking people out of harm’s way.”

He said what happened he’s sure wasn’t expected, “but it’s predictable.”

The collapsed building at 2136-38 Market Street was owned by Richard Basciano.

The demolition was done by Griffin Campbell Construction, owned by Griffin T. Campbell. A call made to the Griffin home was not returned. Non-union workers were used on the project, officials said.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Breaking: Local

Judge rules Tsarnaev can view victim autopsy photos

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can view the autopsy photographs of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

Local

Tsarnaev defense lawyers in court Wednesday, seek family…

Lawyers for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are due in court Wednesday to ask a judge to order prosecutors to hand over more information on the defendant's family.

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

The Word

Kelly Osbourne and Paris Hilton fight over a…

Paris Hilton and Kelly Osbourne, both members of famous families and natives of the reality boom of the early aughts, should be great friends. And yet.

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Wellbeing

Could a facelift give you the edge at…

It's not just women lining up for procedures.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.