Hundreds mourn building collapse victims

Friends and family united in song as they gather by the collapse site for a candlelight vigil Wednesday night. Credit: Charles Mostoller
Friends and family united in song as they gather by the collapse site for a candlelight vigil Wednesday night. Credit: Charles Mostoller

Before the line of more than 200 plastic candles with yellow bulbs danced toward 22nd and Market streets last night, the candle holders gathered inside a church.

Hundreds of friends and family gathered inside First Presbyterian Church to pay tribute the night before the six-month anniversary of the June 5 building collapse that killed six and injured 13.

Rev. Jesse Garner called the service a time for a community touched by tragedy to “stop and remember.”

The family of 24-year-old Anne Bryan, who was killed while she shopped in the Salvation Army Thrift Store, submitted letters that were read by their parish leader, Rev. Michael Giansiracusa, of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Ardmore.

“Let us resolve in our memory, to make fewer compromises with principle in the name of expediency, and to live less for ourselves, and more for others,” wrote Anne’s father, Jay. “What more could we want out of our lives?”

Following the prayer service, the candlelight procession left the church for the site of the collapse, a now-cleared lot.

As residents slowly descended upon the corner, clergy members led the group in song: ”This little light of mine,” the group, linked hand in hand, chorused above the SEPTA announcements and roar of early-evening traffic. ”I’m gonna let it shine.”

Litigation update

On Nov. 25, contractor Griffin Campbell, 49, was charged with murder for his part in the June building collapse.

His group oversaw the building demolition when a wall collapsed onto the thrift store next door.

The crane operator, Kary R. Roberts, who police say was under the influence of drugs, also faces charges.

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