Salvation Army: We Didn't Deny Scaffolding Request - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Collapse on June 5, 2013 in Center City Philadelphia killed 6 and injured 13 people

Salvation Army: We Didn't Deny Scaffolding Request

Thrift store owner disputes claim they prevented protective scaffolding from being installed on the store's roof before deadly collapse



    Salvation Army: We Didn't Deny Scaffolding Request

    The Salvation Army is refuting claims they denied a request to have scaffolding erected on the roof of its thrift store prior to last week’s deadly building collapse.

    The attorney representing demolition contractor Griffin Campbell told reporters Tuesday his client tried to get access to the roof of the Salvation Army Thrift Store at 22nd and Market Streets as crews worked to demolish the four-story building next door.

    “He requested access to the roof of the Salvation Army, that was denied,” attorney Kenneth Eledin said. “The person who came out from the Salvation Army…Jack Higgins went back to see if he could get permission, but that permission was denied.”

    Eledin says inspectors came out to the demolition site prior to the collapse and found no issues.

    Officials from the Salvation Army dispute that claim. In a statement to Friday, General Secretary Major Charles Deitrick said while they can’t go into detail because of an ongoing investigation, they never denied a request to erect scaffolding.

    “We have found no employee, representative or document stating or suggesting that The Salvation Army received and/or denied any alleged request to erect scaffolding on The Salvation Army Thrift Store roof,” the statement read in part.

    The four-story wall from 2136 Market Streets toppled over around 10:40 a.m. on June 5 -- crushing the Salvation Army Thrift Store under wood and brick. Six people – three employees and three shoppers -- were killed after being buried in the collapse. Thirteen people were rescued.

    Photos from the work site showed there was no protection of the Salvation Army roof or the sidewalk.

    Thrift store employee Felicia Hill was buried in the building collapse and able to escape with her life. After the ordeal, she said her fellow employees would hear bricks hitting the one-story building’s roof for weeks before the collapse.

    "I was in the back pricing some clothing when I heard the bricks fall in the ceiling, and uh, when I heard the bricks falling from the ceiling, I felt this shaking like an earthquake and then I heard this gust of wind come in and I seen, just the wall fall and the dust cloud that fell...,” Hill said.

    Hill and six others are now suing the building’s owner STB Investments and Campbell.

    The Salvation Army says the organization continues to pray for the victims and all those impacted.

    Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.