On 5th anniversary, a memorial park is dedicated at Salvation Army store collapse site

Family members and friends gather around three granite monuments dedicated in memory of the six people killed in the Salvation Army building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets on the fifth anniversary of the tragedy Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

The three 8½-foot-high black granite monumental stones unveiled Tuesday at the site of the deadly Salvation Army thrift store collapse face inward, away from the busy Center City intersection of 22nd and Market Streets.

Engraved on the stones are the names of the people killed in the June 5, 2013, collapse. On that bright, beautiful morning, a three-to-four-story wall of an adjacent building that was being demolished collapsed onto the thrift shop, killing six and injuring 13 others.

On Tuesday — another lovely June morning — hundreds attended an hour-long anniversary ceremony dedicating the June 5th Memorial Park. Mayor Kenney was among the speakers.

Camera icon JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Family members and friends gather after the dedication of the memorial park honoring those killed in the Salvation Army building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets on the fifth anniversary of the tragedy.

The park project was spearheaded by former City Treasurer Nancy Winkler and her husband, Jay Bryan. Their daughter, Anne Bryan, a 24-year-old aspiring artist, was among the victims that day.

“My daughter, Anne, was crushed to death right here,” Winkler told those gathered.

The others killed at the site were: Anne Bryan’s childhood best friend, Mary Simpson, 24; Roseline Conteh, 52, a nurse from Sierra Leone; Kimberly Finnegan, 35, a cashier working her first shift at the thrift store; Borbor Davis, 68, a Salvation Army employee from Liberia; and Juanita Harmon, 75, a retired secretary at the University of Pennsylvania.

Among the injured were Danny C. Johnson, 59, a truck driver who died 23 days later, and Ukrainian immigrant Mariya Plekan, who was buried under rubble for 13 hours and whose legs had to be amputated.

“The city was shocked by the level of greed and indifference to human life and safety demonstrated by so many people who were aware of the dangerous demolition but did nothing,” Winkler said in her remarks.

She spoke of the need for continued vigilance by the city of safety standards. “Demolitions are dangerous,” she said, noting a building collapse in North Philadelphia Monday morning that killed a demolition worker, Harvey Figgs.

A brother of Harmon’s, Charles Harmon, 87, said he hoped his sister’s death “will inspire commercial workers to make sure that they do the proper things when they construct sites.”

Zhee Carr, a daughter of Davis’, told those gathered that “it has been difficult at times,” but that she knows that her father is “in a better place.” After the ceremony, as family members gathered for a photo in front of her father’s name on one of the granite stones, she said she wanted to return to the site when it’s quiet.

“I will try to come around here when no one else is here,” said Carr, of Newark, Del., as she stood near her mother, Maggie Davis, and siblings Maryann Mason and Joseph McClain.

Camera icon JOSE MORENO / Staff Photographer
Family members of Roseline Conteh, who died in the Salvation Army building collapse five years ago, attend the ceremony. Conteh’s husband, Aiah Boya, and her sister Kadie Conteh are framed by two monuments before the unveiling.

Building a reflective space was a goal of the memorial created by architect Scott Aker and artist Barbara Fox. “The idea for the memorial was to create something that was both public and private,” Fox said after the ceremony.

The three vertical stones curve inward like “arms wrapping around” to embrace the victims’ families, she said.

Camera icon JOSE MORENO / Staff Photographer
Mayor Kenney before speaking at the dedication of the memorial to those killed in the Salvation Army building collapse.

“This is a sacred space,” Winkler said afterward as she stood in front of the granite stones, where the bodies of her daughter and the other victims were found by first responders. Closer to the street corner, an Amur Maackia tree was planted to honor the responders.

Camera icon JULIE SHAW / Staff
Mayor Kenney (center) looks on as former City Treasurer Nancy Winkler, whose daughter, Anne Bryan, died in the Salvation Army building collapse five years ago, speaks at the dedication of the memorial park.

Winkler chose the Emily Dickinson poem “Unable Are the Loved to Die,” which is quoted on one of the stones.

“Anne loved Emily Dickinson,” Winkler said, adding: “We’re here to say, in a way, these people still live in our hearts, and love is the most important thing.”

Staff writer Claudia Irizarry-Aponte contributed to this article.

Camera icon Laura Meirson / FOR THE DAILY NEWS
A view before the collapse of the Salvation Army thrift store (right) and the adjacent building that was being demolished.

Memorial Park Dedicated

A memorial was dedicated at the site of the 2013 Salvation Army building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets.
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