NBC10.com - George Spencer
Some people living in Germantown fear for their safety and the safety of their homes after part of a building sends debris onto the street. NBC10's George Spencer has their story
Naomi Collins says she didn’t need to see the gaping hole of the building next to her home to know that it had caved in. She says she actually felt it partially collapse, as if an earthquake had hit.
“I’m right next door and it’s scary,” Collins said. “It’s unsafe. The whole building where I live vibrated.”
For years residents in the Germantown section of Philly have tried to alert city leaders that the damaged abandoned home on 401 W Penn Street was on the verge of collapse.
“Nothing is being done about it,” one resident said. “We have called several times over several, several years.”
Licenses & Inspections confirmed the home was deemed an “unsafe property”back in 2010. The city has received at least eleven complaints about the property and repeatedly notified the owner, Paul Hackett, to fix the building. NBC10 went to Hackett’s listed address in the Roxborough section of the city but learned from neighbors that no one by that name currently lives there.
On Wednesday, residents say the second floor partially caved in. An L&I official re-inspected the building and determined that it was “imminently dangerous.” The city is now expediting the demolition of the building and officials say it will be torn down within the next few days. Neighbors are hoping the demolition happens before an even bigger collapse.
“We want the same thing everyone else wants,” Melissa Graham said. “We want a safe community. We want properties that are safe and inhabitable.”
L&I officials say Hackett will ultimately have to repay the demolition costs, even if it means putting a lien on the property.