Here’s what they’re saying about today’s anniversary of the deadly Salvation Army collapse:
Ceremonies will mark the one year anniversary of a fatal building collapse in Center City. Families and friends of the victims will plant the first tree in a memorial park dedicated to the six people who lost their lives
It was one year ago today that a building under demolition collapsed on the Salvation Army thrift shop at 22nd and Market Streets, killing six and injuring 14.
Janice Murphy has been living in Center City for more than 13 years. Like many other residents and workers in the downtown neighborhood, the 76-year-old says time has not yet healed the emotional wounds that the June 2013 deadly building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets left behind.
Murphy remembers feeling her building shake, hearing a loud boom and seeing plumes of dust billowing outside the windows of her apartment building just across the street from the site of the deadly collapse.
"The last woman they got out, we saw them pull her out," Murphy said. "And we watched, me and my boyfriend. I said, 'Oh my god, they’re bringing a woman up from in the basement.' I couldn’t believe she was alive."
"She wound up losing both her legs. It was just so tragic. That’s the most tragic thing I’ve ever seen. I'll never forget it."
53-year-old Mariya Plekan is in constant pain, her legs have been amputated up to her hips and she needs 24 hour medical care.
On Tuesday, through tears and an interpreter, she mustered the courage to share her memory of the day of the building collapse.
"I was just praying all the time that was someone going to find me and hear me," Plekan said.
"I will never forget that moment, what happened with me. I will remember every moment when I was in there, how I [waited for] somebody [to] find me," Plekan, 53, who came here from Ukraine in 2002, recounted through an interpreter last night at St. Ignatius Nursing & Rehab Center, where she now lives.
Attorney Andy Stern of Kline & Specter, who filed a lawsuit in August against several parties involved with the collapse on behalf of Plekan, said his firm has been working with an immigration lawyer to secure permanent residency in the United States for both children.
"I wish my kids can be with me. That's all [that] I stay strong for, and I wish [they could be here], because they only will take care of me," Plekan said last night, pausing between words to take sharp, labored breaths. "I need them now like never before."
One year later, we have yet to mete out justice to those responsible for those deaths, but, oh, do we have worthy candidates:
A grand jury, convened last June, is still investigating. Multiple lawsuits have been filed. In the wrongful-death case of Juanita Harmon, the depositions alone, to begin this summer, will take four months.
"We have reviewed literally tens of thousands of documents and are moving our way through the system," says lawyer Robert Mongeluzzi, who represents Harmon's family. "Each deposition might have 25 to 30 lawyers present asking questions. We are leaving no stone unturned in determining what occurred."
Neither is the blue-ribbon commission that convened in November to examine the workings of L&I. Its report will be released in September.
THE TRIAL for demolition contractor Griffin Campbell and excavator operator Sean Benschop could be a public-relations nightmare for city government.
Benschop, 43, and Campbell, 50, are charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and related offenses. Plato Marinakos, the architect who got the demolition permit, has been granted immunity. No one else has been charged.