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L&I inspector on collapsed Philadelphia building found dead

Emily Babay, Philly.com staff

Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2013, 5:34 AM

Police and fire rescue responding to a report of a possible suicide along Shawmont Avenue in Roxborough section of Philadelphia found the body of a Licenses & Inspections investigator. The man had inspected a building on Market Street before it collapsed last week in Center City Philadelphia, killing six. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

The man who inspected a building on Market Street before it collapsed last week in Center City Philadelphia, killing six people, was found dead last night in an apparent suicide.

Everett Gillison, deputy mayor for public safety, speaks to the news media Thursday morning about the apparent suicide of an L&I inspector. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/Staff)
Police and fire rescue responding to a report of a possible suicide in an isolated area along Shawmont Avenue in Roxborough section of Philadelphia found the body of a Licenses & Inspections investigator. The man had inspected a building on Market Street before it collapsed last week in Center City Philadelphia, killing six. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Police and fire rescue responding to a report of a possible suicide in an isolated area along Shawmont Avenue in Roxborough section of Philadelphia found the body of a Licenses & Inspections investigator. The man had inspected a building on Market Street before it collapsed last week in Center City Philadelphia, killing six. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams speak to the news media Thursday morning about the apparent suicide of an L&I inspector. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/Staff)
A Salvation Army Thrift store was demolished in the aftermath of a building collapse, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Philadelphia. On Wednesday, the building under demolition collapsed onto a neighboring thrift store, killing six people and injuring 14, including one who was pulled from the debris nearly 13 hours later. (Emily Babay / Philly.com)
A Salvation Army Thrift store is demolished in the aftermath of a building collapse, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Philadelphia. On Wednesday, the building under demolition collapsed onto a neighboring thrift store, killing six people and injuring 14, including one who was pulled from the debris nearly 13 hours later. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A firefighter sprays the debris in the aftermath of a building collapse, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Philadelphia. On Wednesday, the building under demolition collapsed onto a neighboring thrift store, killing six people and injuring 14, including one who was pulled from the debris nearly 13 hours later. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Lynda Raines with the Salvation Army views the demolition of one of their stores in the aftermath of a building collapse, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Philadelphia. On Wednesday, the building under demolition collapsed onto a neighboring thrift store, killing six people and injuring 14, including one who was pulled from the debris nearly 13 hours later. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Philadelphia Firefighters carry a survivor from the rubble of a building collapse in downtown Philadelphia Wednesday June 5, 2013. A four-story building being demolished collapsed Wednesday on the edge of downtown, injuring 12 people and trapping two others, the fire commissioner said. Rescue crews were trying to extricate the two people who were trapped, city Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said. The dozen people who were injured were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, he said. (AP Photo/Philadelphia Inquirer, Michael Bryant) PHIX OUT; TV OUT; MAGS OUT; NEWARK OUT MAGS OUT; ASSOCIATED PRESS
In this photo provided by Jordan McLaughlin, a dust cloud rises as people run from the scene of a building collapse on the edge of downtown Philadelphia on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. A building that was being torn down collapsed with a thunderous boom, raining bricks on a neighboring thrift store, killing a woman and injuring at least 13 other people in an accident that witnesses said was bound to happen. (AP Photo/Jordan McLaughlin) ASSOCIATED PRESS
In this photo provided by Jordan McLaughlin, emergency personnel and others rescue a man from the rubble of a building collapse on the edge of downtown Philadelphia on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. A building that was being torn down collapsed with a thunderous boom, raining bricks on a neighboring thrift store, killing a woman and injuring at least 13 other people in an accident that witnesses said was bound to happen. (AP Photo/Jordan McLaughlin) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Firefighters pull a 66-year-old woman from underneath the rubble yesterday. One passer-by compared the collapse and the subsequent rescue efforts to the chaos of the 9/11 attacks. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Sources say as many as 125 emergency personnel were on hand at the collapse site yesterday, working to pull victims from the rubble. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer)
Firefighters rest at the collapse scene Thursday morning after a night of digging through the rubble. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer)
A building collapsed in Center City. (Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)
An ambulance pulls away after a body was removed from the collapsed building at 22nd and Market Sts. That moved the death toll up to 6. ( CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer )
Firefighters view the aftermath of a building collapse, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Philadelphia. On Wednesday, the building under demolition collapsed onto a neighboring thrift store, killing six people and injuring 14, including one who was pulled from the debris nearly 13 hours later. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Rescue personnel evacuate an injured person from the scene of a building collapse in downtown Philadelphia Wednesday June 5, 2013. A four-story building being demolished collapsed Wednesday on the edge of downtown, injuring 12 people and trapping two others, the fire commissioner said. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Firefighters holding up a yellow tarp as they prepared to remove another body from the rubble of the collapsed building. (CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer)
A view from across Market Street of the rubble of collapsed buildings on June 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Dino Hazell)
Scene of the building collapse at 22nd and Market St. in center city Philadelphia Wednesday June 5, 2013. For the Inquirer and Daily News / Tom Kelly IV
A Google street view of the intersection before any buildings collapsed. Gone are the building with the Hoagie City sign, and only the corner storefront remains of the Salvation Army Thrift Store, as of June 4, 2013.
Firefighters view the aftermath of a building collapse, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Philadelphia. Wednesday a building under demolition collapsed onto a neighboring thrift store, killing six people and injuring 14, including one who was pulled from the debris nearly 13 hours later. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A workman affixes a sticker to the remaining portion of thrift store in the aftermath of a building collapse, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Philadelphia. On Wednesday, the building under demolition collapsed onto a neighboring thrift store, killing six people and injuring 14, including one who was pulled from the debris nearly 13 hours later. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Two Philadelphia fire officials look into the rear of the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Members of the Philadelphia fire department assess the situation at the rear of the Salvation Army drop off center at 22nd and Ludlow St. Philadelphia fire department and other city services are at the scene of the building collapse on Thursday morning June 6, 2013. Several people were injured and killed in this collapse that took place Wednesday morning June 5, 2013. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )
Philadelphia fire fighter walks in front of the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Thursday morning June 6, 2013. Philadelphia fire department and other city services are at the scene of the building collapse on Thursday morning June 6, 2013. Several people were injured and killed in this collapse that took place Wednesday morning June 5, 2013. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )
Demolition crews stand behind the Salvation Army store to start working. Philadelphia fire department and other city services are at the scene of the building collapse on Thursday morning June 6, 2013. Several people were injured and killed in this collapse that took place Wednesday morning June 5, 2013. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )
A Google satellite view before buildings collapsed at the corner of 22d and Market Streets on June 4, 2013. At the far left is the low gray roof of the Salvation Army Thrift Store building, which almost entirely collapsed. Easier to see is the bigger adjacent complex, with a white roof at the front and with a brick facade in the back, which entirely collapsed.
Firefighters watch as a crane pulls debris away from the site of the collapsed building in Center City. (Stephanie Aaronson/Staff)
A Philadelphia firefighter lays reaching into rubble, as crews worked to find anyone trapped by the collapse of buildings at 22d and Market on June 5, 2013. ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )
An injured person is wheeled away on a gurney after building collapsed at 22d and Market Streets on June 5, 2013. ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
A view from across Market Street posted on Instagram by Mike Adam (mikeadamonair)
A helicopter view of emergency crews working at the site of a building collapse near 22d and Markets Streets in Philadelphia on the morning of June 5, 2013. At least 10 people were injured, and the search for anyone trapped continued into the afternoon. NBC10
An injured person is wheeled away from the collapse of adjacent buildings at 22d and Market Streets in Philadelphia on June 5, 2013. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer
Firemen and rescue workers swarm rubble after adjacent buildings collapsed at 22d and Market Streets on June 5, 2013. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer )
Firefighters and police at the scene of the collapse. CLEM MURRAY / Staff
Philadelphia FIre Commissioner Lloyd Ayers with Mayor Michael Nutter addresses the media on the scene of the building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets. (Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)
Philadelphia firefighters search through the rubble looking for anyone trapped by a building collapse at 22d and Market Streets in Philadelphia on June 5, 2013. 2013. (Michael Bryan t/ Philadelphia Inquirer)
Scene of the building collapse at 22nd and Market St. in center city Philadelphia Wednesday June 5, 2013. For the Inquirer and Daily News / Tom Kelly IV
The scene at 22nd and Market Streets where a building collapsed. (Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)
A member of the rescue team surveys the scene of a building collapse at 22nd and Market streets on June 5, 2013. (Photo: Philly.com)
As night falls at 22nd and Market, crews continue the search and rescue mission following this morning's building collapse. (Photo: Lexie Norcross)
Mayor Michael Nutter addresses the media on the scene of the building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets. (Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)
As night falls at 22nd and Market, crews continue the search and rescue mission following this morning's building collapse. (Photo: Philly.com)
As night falls at 22nd and Market, crews continue the search and rescue mission following this morning's building collapse. (Photo: Philly.com)
A building collapsed in Center City. (Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)
A building collapsed in Center City. (Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)
A building collapsed in Center City. (Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)
Photo Gallery: Buildings Collapse in Center City

Northwest Detectives said 52-year-old Ronald Wagenhoffer was found dead from a gunshot wound to the chest at about 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Someone found the 16-year veteran of the Department of Licenses and Inspections in his vehicle on the 100 block of Shawmont Avenue in Roxborough and called authorities.

Police said investigators are treating Wagenhoffer's death as a suicide, though a medical examiner will make the final determination.

Documents the city released after the building at 22nd and Market streets collapsed say Wagenhoffer inspected the property.

"We are a city in deep and profound mourning," Everett Gillison, the deputy mayor for public safety, said at a news conference this morning. "With the building collapse a week ago, we now have lost seven lives in connection with this tragedy."

L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams said Wagenhoffer "worked extremely hard prior to that tragedy, and he worked hard after the tragedy." The inspector was a "dedicated civil servant who loved his job" and was a mentor to young employees, Williams said.

The city's records say a demolition permit was issued for the building on Feb. 1. The site passed an inspection by Wagenhoffer later that month, and he "gave notice of demo letters" to adjoining properties, the records say.

He also noted in February that "no work started before the permitted date" at 2134 Market St., the property next to the collapsed building. A demolition permit was also issued for that address.

Wagenhoffer then went to the site on May 14, after a citizen complained about the 2134 property. He found no violations and the complaint was resolved as "unfounded," the records say.

Also in May, Wagenhoffer waived a framing/close-in inspection for 2134 Market, according to the records.

No one from L&I visited the property between May 14 and the collapse. City officials have said that buildings being demolished get two inspections -- one before demolition work begins, and one when the property is mostly torn down. The city announced new regulations for demolition work after the incident.

"This man did nothing wrong," Gillison said. "The department did what it was supposed to do under the code that existed at the time."

The June 5 collapse left six people dead and 13 injured when a four-story building that was in the process of being demolished toppled onto an adjoining Salvation Army thrift store.

An excavator operator, 42-year-old Sean Benschop, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person and risking catastrophe in connection to the collapse.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams is convening a grand jury to look into the case further, and the Philadelphia City Council has also launched its own investigation.

Multiple civil lawsuits have been filed in the week after the collapse.

Mayor Michael Nutter, who is in Chicago for a Clinton Global Initiative event, spoke by phone this morning with Wagenhoffer's wife and offered condolences. The couple has a son.

Counseling is being made available to L&I employees, officials said.

Emily Babay, Philly.com staff

Read full story: L&I inspector on collapsed Philadelphia building found dead

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