Officials continue to investigate what caused a building to collapse on a Salvation Army Thrift Store resulting in at least six deaths and more than one dozen injuries in Center City, Philadelphia, Pa.. Yet as that investigation continues, questions are also surfacing regarding five inspections that were supposed to be conducted at the property.
The four-story building, located on 2136-2138 Market Street, is owned by the STB Investments Corporation. STB paid $385,894 for the nearly 4,200-square-foot property in 1994. The Company, Griffin-Campbell Construction was doing demolition work on the property which had a license, according to L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams.
“There are no existing violations on the property,” said Williams. “It was permitted and the contractor did have a license.”
A demolition permit was issued for the building back on Feb. 1. The permit required the following five inspections at the building: under slab/floor, prefinal/wallboard, framing/close-in, and final. It’s unclear however whether all or any of those inspections actually took place.
Williams did not reveal whether those inspections actually happened when asked during a press conference early Wednesday evening.
“The matter is still under investigation,” Williams said. “We’re taking a look at all inspections that were done prior to the collapse.”
“Are there inspections they were supposed to do after the permit was pulled?” asked NBC10’s Harry Hairston.
“We’ll answer that at an appropriate time,” replied Williams. “We have an investigation going on right now.”
While Hairston continued to ask Williams if the inspections took place, the commissioner did not confirm, prompting Mayor Michael Nutter to interject.
“He’s not going to speculate on your question,” the Mayor said. “When we have the information we’ll answer the question. There are hundreds of thousands of buildings in the City of Philadelphia. I don’t think we can expect the commissioner to know each and every building all across the city a few hours after a tragedy has taken place.”
Nutter then stated that they would reveal whether the inspections occurred “as soon as possible” while also claiming that he did not know the age of the building.
A man, who did not want to be identified, recorded video of the demolition of the building on Sunday and sent it to NBC10.com.