Inquirer staff writer Julia Terruso filed a superb story this weekend offering an inside look at the state of mind of Ronald Wagenhoffer, the L&I inspector who was involved in monitoring the demolition site at 22nd and Market–the site that ultimately collapsed and killed six people. Terruso spoke at length with Wagenhoffer’s wife, Michele, who knew he was tormented by his role, though the Inquirer–contradicting earlier reports–claims he said on video that the collapse “wasn’t my fault.”
Indeed, the city has supported Wagenhoffer completely, asserting that he did everything right as he always did. He was known as an incredibly dedicated and even safety-obsessed employee. From the Inquirer:
Coworkers said he was …a stickler who would point out building imperfections and code violations on and off the clock. L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams called Wagenhoffer “a professional craftsman, always striving to be better, mentoring other inspectors and earning certifications in multiple fields.”
“He was the safety man,” Whitlock said.
Perhaps that’s why the dead and injured haunted him so–after all those years of extreme care, how could something like this happen on his watch? The videos he left in the car after he shot himself make reference to the fact that he’d stopped sleeping after the six deaths were reported:
”I’m devastated by the deaths and injuries at 22d and Market. It wasn’t my fault,” he said in the first recording. “I should have been more diligent and looked at those guys working, but I didn’t. When I saw, it was too late. I should have just parked and walked over there, but I didn’t. I’m sorry.”…
A minute after the first, Wagenhoffer recorded a second video for his family. … In the video, Wagenhoffer, dressed in his L&I polo shirt and appearing calm, says: “Tell Luke I went to sleep with God because I couldn’t sleep here.” He ends it by saying, “I love everyone.”
If only he’d gotten some immediate PTSD counseling, he might still be here.
• A pop-up coffee shop is coming to 12th and Mt. Vernon. Once again, Philly gets compared to Portland. Hey! We’ve got plenty of pop-ups too! Try the PHS pop-up across from the Kimmel Center, for one. It’s amazing.
• Could this happen to you? “For want of a few pieces of paper, Cheyenne DiEnno and David Bjornsson may have just lost about $14,000″ in mortgage assistance.
• Where once there were people at the beginning of life, there now will be people at the other end, as Springside Elementary becomes a home for the elderly in Burlington Township.
• Good news for nerds: The N3RD Street Farmers Market will run every Tuesday from 2 to 7 p.m. on Church Street between American and 2nd streets in front of Christ Church.