Speaking publicly for the second time after the death of her daughter in the Market Street building collapse in June, City Treasurer Nancy Winkler yesterday questioned whether the tragedy could have been prevented by her own employer – the City of Philadelphia.
“How could L&I have granted a demolition permit in this instance if it did due diligence on those involved?” Winkler asked while testifying in a City Council hearing.
“How could L&I have permitted the demolition to continue up to and on June 5, given the fact the site had previously been inspected and cited for violations? How was it possible that a catastrophe could be risked on Market Street in plain view for weeks, of which the city received repeated warnings, and there was no public safety response?”
Winkler, joined by her husband, John “Jay” Bryan, who live a mere three blocks from the site of the collapse at 22nd and Market streets, raised poignant questions as to how the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) could have failed so miserably at the job it is tasked to do.
Following a public hearing before the committee of the whole Monday, Winkler and several others testified to the need for better management of L&I, which witnesses called a culture akin to that of the “Wild West” in Philadelphia.
Six measures were moved out of committee and will soon go before Council as a whole. All address the need for better oversight and enforcement of the construction and demolition industry in Philadelphia.