Philadelphia’s city Treasurer and her husband have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against several parties implicated in the June 5 building collapse that killed their daughter and five other people in an adjoining Salvation Army thrift store.
According to Law 360, Philadelphia Treasurer Nancy Winkler and her husband John Bryan filed their complaint Tuesday, Sept. 17 in the Philadelphia Court of Common pleas, where STB Investments Corp., the Salvation Army, and others face a number of other wrongful-death and personal-injury lawsuits in connection with the collapse, which additionally injured 13.
Anne Bryan, a 24-year-old painting student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, was shopping at the Salvation Army store when a neighboring building undergoing demolition broke apart and toppled onto the store.
“STB and the Salvation Army knew for weeks leading up to this tragic collapse that this demolition project posed an imminent threat to the lives of the employees and customers of the Salvation Army thrift store,” the Winkler/Bryant lawsuit said.
The lawsuit says that STB Investments Corp and its principal Richard Basciano were “at the top of the safety hierarchy” and that their failure to follow standard safety procedures led to the sudden collapse of the four-story building.
The plaintiffs accuse STB and Mr. Basciano of ignoring the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) law requiring a proper engineering survey for the demolition job and for failing to follow OSHA safety requirements governing demolition work. For instance, according to the lawsuit, the demolition was being performed from the top down and the crew removed the building’s front section before its roof, which allowed the walls to stand without lateral bracing and eventually to cave in.
The couple also cites communications between STB and the Salvation Army in their lawsuit, saying it underscores how STB knew and warned of the dangers posed by the demolition job, and how the Salvation Army was slow to respond in STB’s request for cooperation.
The plaintiffs also name the contractor hired to perform the demolition, the architect in charge of the demolition permits, and an excavator operator for their roles in the disaster.