City Council forms task force to probe fatal building collapse

building collapse
Investigators probed the site of the fatal building collapse Sunday. Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro

Members of Philadelphia City Council will on Monday afternoon announce the formation of a Special Investigative Committee tasked with probing last week’s building collapse near 22nd and Market streets in Center City that killed six people and wounded 13 more.

The tragedy was touched off when the wall of a property being demolished collapsed into a neighboring Salvation Army, flattening the thrift store and trapping numerous people under the rubble.

The City Council committee will broadly review city standards and practices when it comes to licenses, permits, construction, demolition, worker certification, building maintenance and safety.

Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration has come under fire in recent days after allegations surfaced that the contractor performing the demolition, Griffin Campbell Construction, was operating in an unsafe manner and had a history of code violations.

An excavator operator on the site, Sean Benschop, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment for allegedly using the machinery while under the influence of marijuana and codeine.

The city last week announced a sweeping set of reforms surrounding the permitting, inspection and penalty enforcement of private contractors at demolition sites.

Council President Darrell Clarke and Council members Jannie Blackwell, Bobby Henon, Curtis Jones Jr., Jim Kenney and Maria Quinones Sanchez will formally announce the task force around noon Monday.

Check back for the latest on this developing story.


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