Inspector of collapsed Philadelphia building commits suicide, says collapse “wasn’t my fault”

|  June 13, 2013 |

Workers search through the rubble of a collapsed building in Philadelphia. Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

Workers search through the rubble of a collapsed building in Philadelphia. Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

The collapse of a downtown Philadelphia building that killed 6 people last week has turned even more tragic with news coming this morning that an inspector who surveyed the building weeks before it was demolished was found dead Wednesday night from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Ronald Wagenhoffer, 52, worked for the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections and performed an inspection on the building May 14. He was the last official to check the building before the collapse.

Philadelphia police found the man’s body in a pickup truck Wednesday night with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, the AP reports.

In a video Wagenhoffer made before he shot himself, he explains that he couldn’t sleep after the collapse. At one point in the video he says “It wasn’t my fault,” but goes on to say that he “wished that he’d been more¬†diligent,” according to another AP report.

Authorities and city officials say that Wagenhoffer did nothing wrong in his inspection of the property and was not a part of the investigation. However, the city has faced scrutiny over the fact that it did not perform another inspection after May 14, according to ABC News.

Rather, Sean Benschop, a heavy equipment operator with a long list of run-ins with the law, has been charged with six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of risking a catastrophe.

Benschop was allegedly operating an excavator that eyewitnesses have said collided with a wall of the building shortly before it collapsed.

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