Officials say that an inspector who checked a Philadelphia building prior to its collapse last week has committed suicide. The Department of Licenses and Inspections employee was found shot in a pickup truck. He had inspected the building about a month before it crumbled—during a controlled demolition—but then the building fell on a Salvation Army next door, killing six people. A crane operator is charged with involuntary manslaughter.
"The building was being demolished when it collapsed onto a neighboring Salvation Army Thrift Store on June 5, killing two employees and four customers. Police allege a heavy equipment operator was high on marijuana when it happened.
The city's top prosecutor is convening a grand jury to look into the collapse."
The inspector, Ronald Wagenhoffer, was the last city official to check on construction at the doomed building and found no violations during his inspection on May 14.
"According to city officials, Wagenhoffer continued going to work each day after the building collapse and did not express difficulties to anyone. The commissioner of the buildings inspection department had reached out to Wagenhoffer to check in with him, but had not had the chance to speak with him yet.
"He came into work everyday, was continuing doing inspections, people were reaching out to him," Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison said. "He did his job and did it the way he was supposed to be doing it."
Gillison emphasized that there had already been an arrest of a construction crew member who was allegedly operating a crane under the influence of marijuana and painkillers when the building's wall fell down.
He said that Wagenhoffer was not being targeted by the investigation.
"This is a criminal investigation, which means criminal behavior is alleged and it was not on Mr. Wagenhoffer," Gillison said."
Wagenhoffer devoted 16 years of service to the City of Philadelphia. Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Carlton Williams called Wagenhoffer "a dedicated civil servant who loved his job, mentored other young people, new inspectors. He was a professional craftsman."
Wagenhoffer is survived by a wife and son.