On June 5th, 2013, a building that was being demolished in Market Street in Philadelphia caused the death of 7 people and injured 12 others. Among those injured was a Ukranian immigrant who underwent the amputation of her legs.

Events that led to her injury and amputation

The Ukranian was shopping at the store when debris struck the store from a neighboring building that was being demolished. She was stuck under the rubble for 13 hours, seriously injuring her legs. According to a report by Reuters, surgeons later removed her legs and lower torsos.

She also has a damaged throat and is now being supported by a breathing tube and is unable to speak. Her lungs and kidneys are also damaged after breathing toxic materials while she was trapped for hours.

2013 Philadelphia building collapse

On June 5th, 2013 at 10:43 a.m EST time; a building collapsed in Philadelphia while undergoing demolition. Many people were trapped in the rubble, which led to the arrest of a construction contractor and excavator operator for involuntary manslaughter, third-degree murder and causing a catastrophe. Before the building collapsed, it had been undergoing demolishment for several weeks. Adjacent to the building was a store that was open and full of shoppers and staff.

One of the demolishers went to the site on June 4th at 6 pm and saw an unsupported wall looming next to the store. The wall and the rest of the building structure collapsed on the store the next day. This left people trapped, including a 61-year-old woman who was trapped for 13 hours. A 15-year-old boy tried to free individuals in the rubble for 15 minutes before emergency responses arrived.

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It was discovered that multiple complaints were brought forward by the store owner to the contractors and that the building went uninspected for three weeks before it collapsed. On June 12, 2013, Wagenhoffer Ronald a 52-year-old City Department inspector responsible for inspecting the site, was found dead with a gunshot to the chest in his truck.

His death was ruled as suicide. Leaked emails between the demolisher and the contractors demolishing the building showed that owners of the store were informed of the risks and danger of the collapse of the building. Blood tests on one crane operator found marijuana in his blood system.

The city of Philadelphia later came up with new building demolition rules such as prohibiting contractors from using heavy equipment to demolish buildings adjacent to occupied structures. An excavator operator was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison while the contractor was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in jail.