2013 Collapse Victim Who Suffered “Guillotine Amputation” Awarded $95.6 Million

building collapse

A woman who lost the lower half of her body in the 2013 Center City building collapse that left seven dead and a dozen injured has been awarded $95.6 million.

Mariya Plekan, a 52-year-old Ukranian immigrant, was trapped in rubble for 13 hours on June 5, 2013, the day a half-demolished building fell and crushed the Salvation Army store where she was shopping.  Read more »

Partial Building Collapse Near Temple University, No Injuries Reported

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.

City records show Read more »

Chihuahua Presumed Dead in House Collapse Found Alive Three Days Later

Snuggling with Bruno | Photo: Jen Leary

Snuggling with Bruno | Photo: Jen Leary

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.”

Recent Freeze-Thaw Cycle, Heavy Rain Major Threat to Philly’s Older Buildings

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.

While the great thaw is wonderful for everyone looking for respite from a harsh winter, it is bad news for aging buildings that haven’t been maintained or sit vacant. From the Daily NewsRead more »

Why Building Collapses Might Be More Likely in Winter

Last month’s roof collapse at Lululemon on Walnut Street is sure to have rattled most of us who remember the June 2013 building collapse that left six dead.

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?

Billy Penn’s Anna Orso spoke to Robert Mongeluzzi, an attorney who specializes in collapse cases, who pointed to winter-weather water as the possible culprit: pointed to

Lot Next to Future Market Street Collapse Memorial Could Become Parking Lot


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.

Read more »

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.”

Read more »

22nd and Market Memorial Park Names Artist

building collapse

Photo of woman at demolition site paying honor to one of the collapse victims. Photo: Laura Kicey.

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.

Contractor: Building Owner Was on Site at Time of Collapse

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.

Read more »

Morning Headlines: Nutter and Clarke Propose Opposing Plans For Department of Licenses and Inspections

Photo by Bradley Maule from  June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

Photo by Bradley Maule from June 5, 2013 collapse at 22nd and Market.

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 »

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