UPDATE: South Philly Row Home Collapse: “We Made Every Mistake in the Book”
[Updated 10:23 am] Our friends at the Property blog have the latest scoop:
The home at 428 Daly Street that exploded yesterday mid-morning was owned by SCK Investments, a new investment team of Steve Finney and his daughter, Cathy Finney-Hughes. This home was their first project. According to a profile Steve Finney posted on July 19 on a meetup page for the Philadelphia Real Estate Investors Association:
“I have 41 years experience as a Realtor and 18 years (part time) as a builder/remodeler. My daughter (partner) and I are just completing our first rehab and have made every mistake in the book. Now we’re ready to do it right.”
Oh dear. Well, suffice it to say, blowing up the rehab isn’t actually in the book.
[Updated: 9:31 am] KYW Newsradio reports:
Councilman Mark Squilla visited the site, and says the contractor who was working in 428 Daly Street at the time tells authorities he was trying to light the pilot on the water heater.
“He supposedly went in the building, tried to do it, couldn’t get it to work, went out, came back in. Sometime during that process he lit a cigarette and when that happened the house exploded,” Squilla says.
Squilla says that contractor was blown through a wall in the explosion, but survived.
[Original: 8:50 am] Speaking of house flipping….
The owner of the South Philadelphia rowhouse that exploded Monday morning is a recently created real estate investment firm, SCK Investments L.L.C., set up to buy, rehabilitate, and resell neglected properties.
What used to be a two-story home at 428 Daly St. was apparently its first investment, the only Pennsylvania property under SCK’s ownership since the business was incorporated in January 2012, listing an address at 2653 S. Camac St.
The Inquirer adds: “City Councilman Mark Squilla said Monday that the contractor working in the basement of the home – the most seriously injured victim of the blast – told rescuers that he was trying to light the water heater when the explosion occurred.”
Eight people were injured in this incident, and no one killed. Still, it looks like the explosion—like June’s demolition collapse at the Salvation Army store on Market Street—could be inviting a closer scrutiny of contractor practices.