The nation’s foremost construction collapse law firm is calling for an immediate moratorium on all Philadelphia demolition projects in which there is a connecting wall to an occupied property. “Every site should be immediately inspected – or re-inspected – to ensure that there isn’t another fatal collapse waiting to happen,” said Robert J. Mongeluzzi, of Philadelphia-based Saltz, Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, in the aftermath of yesterday’s tragedy. Mr. Mongeluzzi and his firm are the nation’s leading construction collapse trial attorneys representing victims and their survivors of deadly worksite accidents. In recent years, they were lead counsel in the Atlantic City Tropicana Casino collapse that killed four construction workers, the Pier 34 collapse that killed three young women, and the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts collapse that seriously injured seven construction workers.
The attorneys noted that OSHA requires that an engineering site survey be conducted before starting any demolition operations. It is “painfully obvious” that the demolition contractor either had no plan or failed to follow one. OSHA also requires that a wall higher than one story be laterally braced. When the demolition contractor demolished the front face of the building, it left the towering three-story wall that collapsed without the federally required lateral support. This lapse proved deadly. The decision to demolish the building next to an occupied one-story building was, according to Mr. Mongeluzzi,” grossly reckless, if not criminally negligent.”