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Philadelphia to launch special probe of fatal building collapse

June 10, 2013 5:03:32 AM PDT
Philadelphia's City Council is setting up a special investigative committee to conduct a wide-ranging investigation in the aftermath of the building collapse that killed six people and injured 13 last week.

The downtown building was being demolished when it collapsed onto a neighboring Salvation Army Thrift Store on Wednesday, killing two employees and four customers. Police say a heavy equipment operator was high on marijuana when the accident happened and he surrendered Saturday to face charges in the deaths.

On Monday, the City Council is planning to announce the formation of a special committee to conduct a broad review of procedures and regulations regarding licenses and permits, construction and demolition, the certification of workers, building maintenance and other issues. Council President Darrell Clarke and other members are scheduled to discuss details about the committee at a noon news conference.

In the fallout of the collapse, officials have begun inspecting hundreds of demolition sites citywide in recent days. Mayor Michael Nutter said Friday that the city is preparing to implement sweeping changes in its regulations of building demolition.

The excavator operator, Sean Benschop, surrendered Saturday to face six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of risking a catastrophe. His attorney said it was an accident and his client is not responsible for it.


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