It was a scary scene near Temple University today as a building partially collapsed around 11 a.m. near the intersection of 18th and Page streets. The Philadelphia Police Department said that the vacant building at 2020 North 18th Street was being renovated by city workers at the time of the accident. Video from CBS 3’s Chopper 3 showed part of the roof had caved in and a significant portion of the front facade was ripped off. Damage to the adjacent rowhome at 2018 North 18th Street, an apartment building housing Temple students can be seen as well. No one was home at the time of the accident and no injuries have been reported thus far.
Here’s some good news to start off your day. Bruno, the Chihuahua that was presumed dead after the horrific house collapse in Kensington on Saturday, has been found alive under the rubble. NBC10 reports the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team found two of homeowner Eric Carol’s pets, another dog named Paws and a cat, but Bruno couldn’t be found after a two-hour search. The pup emerged out of the debris on Monday–three days after the collapse– when Carol’s father called for him.
Carol survived the event and is scheduled to undergo surgery on his broken back today. NBC10 reports his brother-in-law said Carol “has a 50 percent chance at being left paralyzed.”
UPDATE (9:45 a.m.): Jen Leary, founder of Red Paw Emergency Relief Team, tells us that Bruno “was settled in with his family.” Kit, the cat, was going to PAWS and off to foster care until the owner gets out of the hospital. Carol’s other dog, Paws, is in the emergency kennel at Saved Me. “We are still looking for a foster for him,” said Leary in an email. “The plan is to reunite him with his owner once he is out of the hospital and finishes rehab for his back.”
Kensington “pancake” building collapse. One man injured. “We call him Gringo,” neighbor says. Chihuahua missing … pic.twitter.com/jH1eOTRU2G
— William Bender (@wbender99) March 15, 2015
Six buildings have collapsed in some way, shape or form over the past week or so. Yo-yoing temps on the thermometer this time of year tend to wreak havoc on many of Philly’s older buildings. William Bender of the Daily News reports a house in Kensington “completely collapsed” on Saturday, injuring one man. Sadly, one of his dogs, a Chihuahua, is missing and is presumed to have died in the collapse.
Fortunately, only minor injuries were reported and the yoga store has since set up a temporary base elsewhere. However, the question remains: What exactly caused our most recent (at least, according to public knowledge) collapse scare?
The southeast corner of 22nd and Market was forever changed in June 2013 after a building collapsed onto the roof of the one-story Salvation Army next door, killing six people inside. As you know, a memorial park is planned for the corner where the thrift store once stood, but little has been said about the larger lot next to it, the one owned by Richard Basciano. Philadeliquency did some serious sleuthing and what they found is rather interesting–vaguely worded permits issued last week that could see the lot turned into surface parking. Surely, you jest? Sadly, we don’t:
This is probably going to depress you, but it appears that Basciano wants to convert the lots use for 2136-38 Market Street into surface parking. He’s doing it by arguing that he’s using his other properties next door for parking, so why not this one as well?
Talk about a punch in the gut.
Morning Headlines: June 2013 Building Collapse Judge Permits Attorneys to Speak with Reporters (Sort Of)
Common Pleas Court Judge Glenn B. Bronson who is in charge of the June 2013 building collapse case has switched to using the trial publicity guidelines set by the American Bar Association, which means attorneys involved in the case will have “more latitude” when it comes to responding publicly to comments others make about their clients.
Still, the Inquirer’s Joseph A. Slobodzian reports that after ending the previous “blanket order” of no comments to the media on Monday, Bronson reminded prosecutors and attorneys that whoever violated the ABA guideline would be held in contempt because “[t]his case cannot be tried in the media; the case must be tried before Philadelphia jurors.”
The most recent Center City Residents Association Newsletter has an update on the memorial park proposed for 22nd and Market, the site of the June 2013 building collapse responsible for the death of seven people: artist Barbara Fox has been selected to design the memorial sculpture. From the newsletter:
As for her winning concept, Fox says she wanted the families to be able to personalize the memorial for themselves. “My idea was to have windows in a house-shaped piece, and each victim’s family could customize how the window would look so that it would mean something to them, like the color of the glass or the texture of the glass. The name of each of the six victims would be etched into the granite over each window. Then, there would be a seventh window for individuals who were injured in the collapse. Above that window it would say ‘for those we remember’. “
All due respect to Fox, who was obviously speaking very preliminarily, let’s memorialize the death of seven people, rather than six, so that Ronald Waggenhoffer is not forgotten. (In case you have forgotten him, read this piece about his suicide.) He was a victim too, and deserves his own window.
The owner of the former Hoagie City building at 22nd and Market was on site when it collapsed last year onto an adjacent Salvation Army store and killed six people, a building contractor charged with murder in the incident says.
A lawyer for the contractor, Griffin Campbell, told Philly.com owner Richard Basciano was on site with his wife Lois when the collapse happened, but left immediately after.
Morning Headlines: Nutter and Clarke Propose Opposing Plans For Department of Licenses and Inspections
Since the June 2013 building collapse (and an unknown number of other crumbling properties), the Department of Licenses and Inspections has been under particular scrutiny. Excuses ranging from a dearth in funds to simply having its hands tied have been heard time and again, which may be why the department will soon get an overhaul.
CBS Philly’s Mike Dunn reports Mayor Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke will be presenting their respective proposals for restructuring L&I today, but appear to be going in opposite directions for how to go about it:
Mayor Nutter is expected to release the recommendations of a task force he created after the Market Street tragedy. The chief recommendation will be a restructuring of the city administration, so that the Department of Licenses and Inspections is split in two.
One new department would oversee all demolition and construction in the city. The other would handle L&I’s other functions like permitting.
Meanwhile, Clarke has a different idea… Read more »
Nobody was hurt, but that was a close one! The building that houses For Pete’s Sake Pub in Queen Village partially collapsed yesterday around 3:30pm. According to Philly.com, L&I is looking into what could have caused the roof of the three-story property (with apartments on the top two floors) to fall through.
Thus far, L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams said “a zoning permit for interior renovations of the second and third floors” was granted to Peterbuilt Construction back in June. That permit was changed a few weeks ago to include floors and stairs, and an L&I inspector paid a visit to the site just last week to go over “building and fire safety with the contractor.”
No violations have been found at the site.
• L&I probes partial building collapse in Queen Village [Philly.com]
In other news…