Skip to comments.Inspector of collapsed Philadelphia building commits suicide
Posted on 06/13/2013 9:24:04 AM PDT by rickmichaels
PHILADELPHIA - The city building inspector who checked a Philadelphia building before it collapsed last week, killing six people, has died of an apparent suicide, local media reported.
The inspector died of a gunshot wound to the chest on Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, citing law enforcement sources. He was found dead inside his vehicle in a wooded section of Shawmont Avenue in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia, the report said.
Police confirmed to Reuters that a suicide had taken place at that location but said they could not confirm the identity of the person who died.
Local affiliates for the ABC, CBS and NBC television networks also reported that the suicide victim was a city inspector who had inspected the building before it collapsed.
Earlier this week, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced plans to convene a grand jury to investigate the extent of responsibility for last week's building collapse, which killed six people and injured 13 others.
Sean Benschop, who was operating the crane when the Market Street building in Center City fell, is the sole person charged so far in the case. He is being held without bail on charges of involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person, causing a catastrophe and risking a catastrophe.
The scope of the grand jury may include a look at the role of city agencies and their policies, Williams said.
The four-story building was being demolished and collapsed onto a Salvation Army Thrift Store next door.
The building had been issued a demolition permit on Feb. 1 and later that month passed a check by the inspector who is now dead, the Inquirer said.
The guy running the crane is still in jail I believe.
Earlier reports placed the blame squarely on the demolition company and its crew.
Should read “The inspector who DIDN’T check the property....”
If this dead guy could have,and should have,prevented this from happening and didn’t then one can argue that his was an act of remorse and guilt.If I’m correct then one can almost admire the guy for at least having a conscience.We all know that if it was Osama Obama who was responsible he would have hired 100 lawyers and started chanting “racist” and “bitter clingers”.
A suicide gunshot to the chest is kind of unusual.
Why is the crane operator in jail?
Why is the crane operator in jail?
That’s how women usually do it. Doesn’t destroy the face.
Isn’t this what they do in Japan? If someone fails to do their job, they kill themselves to save face. I could really get behind that policy for D.C. starting with Barry and working its way down.
How many more did he ‘sign off good’ on?
Prob. come to find out it’s like all other Dem rat UNION jobs....nothing done for high $$ and the Citizens screwed over
Normally people try killing themselves by going for their head not their chest, they don’t want to suffer through the pain. It doesn’t quite fit the smell test.
Sources tell CBS 3 that blood tests on the crane operator involved with Wednesdays deadly building collapse in Center City detected the presence of a prescription painkiller and marijuana.
Sources say investigators also noticed that Benschop, who has a history of 11 prior arrests, including a conviction for possession and dealing drugs, was speaking in what police considered an unusually slow, quiet way, almost whispering, according to a source.
Actually now it’s not clear whether this guy was the crane operator or an excavator operator. The story at that link I posted has been changed from “crane operator” to “excavator operator”, but here it’s still “crane operator”.
(I am glad I didn’t start ranting about making criminal cases out of every tragic accident.)
It is hard to believe that he could get a crane operators license in Philadelphia with that kind of record.
It is hard to believe that an employer would hire him with that kind of background.
... shaking head...
It is, perhaps, worth noting that the crane/excavator operator manned-up and turned himself in.
That's awesome! Remote controlled crane drones operated from Jail!!! What'll they think of next?
By himself?...I highly doubt it. My presumption is he accepted a bribe, OK’d everything without looking at it, the price was overinflated by the government (HUD, whoever, a city beautification plan) the contract was given to organized crime and carried out by non-qualified “Union” people, and it all went bad. Kill the dude off,voila! No trail back to politicians.
He was a backhoe operator according to Philly TV. He had drugs in his system, so easy to blame him to cover Philly’s politicians.
Yes something definitely went wrong here, it’s not scapegoating.
But it remains to be seen just what went wrong and why. I couldn’t even really say whether anybody thinks the “excavator operator” dug too much out or from the wrong place or ran into something, or if he’s just in jail because he was operating an excavator under the influence.
The updated story at the CBS link I posted says the “crane operator” has not been charged, so there is definitely some confusion there in the Philly media.
Isnt this what they do in Japan?....Ummmm, this is Philly, not Japan. Get the inkling?
Among men, yes.
Among women, no.
It is hard to believe that he could get a crane operators license in Philadelphia with that kind of record....Do you realize how stupid that post was? Not calling you out, by ANY means, but this is Philly, for Ch...t’s sake!
We don’t all live in Philadelphia, lighten up.
Was he Oriental? Saving ‘face’?.........
In 27 AD, an apparently cheaply built wooden amphitheatre, constructed by an entrepreneur named Atilius, collapsed in Fidenae resulting in by far the worst stadium disaster in history with as many as 20,000 dead and wounded out of the total audience of 50,000.
Then there was an arena in Little Rock Ark that was found, in 1998, to be so unstable they had to put in new braces to strengthen it.
There are some in the biz who use the slang term "crane" when referring to an excavator, along with the terms hoe, back hoe and track hoe.
My great-grandfather refused to build the Knickerbocker Theater in Washington, D.C., in 1918. He said it would be unsafe. It collapsed in 1922, after a blizzard. Both the architect and the owner committed suicide.
Philly Outfit. Look the other way money, kicks and he does and the store stays...open? Insanity with proximity of demolition.
Or he was murdered. Dead men tell no tales.
Or it had absolutely nothing to do with the building.
It is hard to believe that an employer would hire him with that kind of background...”
New Department of Labor regs mandate hiring criminals. Sign of things to come.
Could also be an inspector who did do his job, reported problems to his superiors, and was told to "shut up."
Now he is sure to keep quiet.
wow i grew up right of shawmon st st. elementary school there. used to be woods woods and more woods.
That, and I'm sure there are plenty of lazy reporters out there who are perfectly happy to call any piece of heavy equipment a "crane." Kind of like how any gun is an AR-15 (or, in older stories, an AK-47).
It varies from jurisdiction to juridiction but often crane operators have to have special certification for the crane they are operating, a special current medical exam, a special crane safety check on that exact piece of equipement, a field safety inpsection and load test after crane set up and similar detail items that could have be also required to be checked by the inspector under local code guidelines.
The inpsector could have done something inproper prompting his suicide event, but that is pure speculation as the deaths themselves could have had a serious impact on him as he was the last code inspector present.
Demoliton companies range from very competent to fly-by-night and there is reason to believe that with an possibly impared operator they have the biggest liability in this issue.
*yikes* Dang if that doesn’t make sense.
I’d say you are lucky, but I see you are from California.
I lived in Philly for years and have been following this story in the Philly newspapers.
Apparently several people had complained to the Inspector’s Office about the demolition. One person had his email and responding emails from the Inspector’s Office published in the newspaper.
It appears that someone (the suicide?) took a look (or took a bribe, being Philly) and said everything was OK, nothing to see here.
Turns out he was wrong, huh? So it could be that this guy would be on the hot seat during an investigation. Did he actually look at the site? To what extent? Was he taking money not to look? etc. Was he negligent? Criminally negligent? We could keep on like this all afternoon. Suicide probably seemed like a good idea after he realized what a mess he was in.
Well played sir.
Like a fire inspector I knew. He offed himself after a tragic fire in a apartment complex killed several children. Turns out it was the kids that set it, but he blamed himself.
Tis a case of Phillycide
Dead men can’t spill the bribe beans