City Hall: Report on June Center City Collapse

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A chained fence outlines the site of the former Salvation Army at 22nd and Market Streets.

Less than four months after a four-story wall collapsed onto a Salvation Army thrift store in Center City and killed six people, a City Council committee released a report last month recommending changes to demolition practices in the city.

“The report leads the way to focused legislative action and budget prioritization to create a safer demolition practice and policy in Philadelphia,”  Curtis Jones Jr., chairman of the Special Investigative Committee on Demolition Practices, said in the report, “and to prevent another incident like Market Street from ever happening again.”

The report was in response to the collapse on June 5 on the corner of 22nd and Market streets. The wall that collapsed onto the thrift store was part of a building that was undergoing demolition.

Though the committee was put together as a result of the collapse, it also cites three more incidents in the city in the months after the Market Street collapse.

“The unavoidable conclusion was that the City’s permitting and inspection process fell short of what was necessary to protect the public,” the report said.

The report outlined 71 “legislative, procedural, and operational reforms” to the city’s demolition practices and procedures.

Samer Muallam, of Center City, said that the collapse seemed to be an oversight issue.

“I was really confused about how it could’ve happened, it seemed like a large oversight [issue],” he said. “It’s not one particular person that should be accountable for it.”

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