NBC10.com - Daralene Jones
Police searched the home of the contractor of the building that collapsed and killed six people last week. NBC10's Daralene Jones has the details.
The investigation into last week's deadly building collapse in downtown Philadelphia expanded today as police arrived late in the afternoon to search the home of the lead contractor, Griffin Campbell.
They left with one box of items. Sources tell NBC10 the box contains Campbell's business information, records and permits. All of the items will be turned over for a grand jury to review as evidence.
A few hours earlier, as media gathered near Campbell's North Philadelphia home, a woman who lives across the street but didn't want her name used, came over to hand out a letter written by Campbell's attorney yesterday. The two-page document expresses condolences for the victims and defends the careers and expertise of both Campbell and a sub-contractor he hired, backhoe operator Kary R. Roberts, a.k.a. Sean Benschop.
"The excavator operator, Sean Benschop, has extensive experience in demolition. Mr. Benschop has also had numerous demolition contracts with the City. It was because of this experience and work history that Mr. Benschop was chosen for the job," attorney Kenneth Edelin, said in the statement.
Campbell was demolishing a building at 22nd and Market Street that was right next door to a Salvation Army thrift store. At about 10:40 a.m., a four-story wall collapsed on top of the store, killing six people and injuring 13 others. One woman who survived was buried in debris for 13 hours.
Edelin said on the day of the collapse, "at no point did Campbell instruct the excavator to be used for the demolition. At no point did Campbell suspect the operator to be impaired. The excavator was on site to remove debris, NOT demolition on that section of the building."
Campbell's home is the second home investigators have gone through for evidence.
On Friday, two detectives took computers and boxes of papers and files out of the home of Kary R. Roberts, a.k.a Sean Benschop, who was the backhoe/excavator operator at the building collapse site.
Roberts turned himself in on Saturday. He's charged with six counts of involuntary manslaughter and related offenses. Investigators for the District Attorney's office said Roberts tested positive for a controlled substance after the collapse and it's their belief that he was "too impaired to safely operate that crane and there was other evidence that he might have been using the crane improperly," said Jennifer Selber, Chief of the DA's Homicide unit.
District Attorney Seth Williams announced today that a grand jury will investigate the collapse. That investigation will be methodical and not a "rush to judgment," Williams said.
"This is laughable that they dragged my client through the mud over the weekend," said Daine Grey, Jr., the attorney representing Roberts, a.k.a. Benschop. "And now they want to investigate the people who hired him in secret," Grey said, referring to the announcement today by District Attorney Seth Williams that an investigative grand jury will look into the collapse.
This story is developing, check back for updates.