The Slatest

Inspector Who Surveyed Philly Building Before Collapse Commits Suicide

Rescue workers search for victims and clear debris from a building that collapsed in an apparent accident at a demolition site, at 22nd and Market Streets, June 5, 2013 in Philadelphia

Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

In a sad turn to an already sad story, the man who last inspected the Philadelphia building that collapsed earlier this month was found dead last night of an apparent suicide. CBS News has the details:

Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison said 52-year-old inspector Ronald Wagenhoffer was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a pickup truck Wednesday night. Wagenhoffer was a 16-year veteran of the Department of Licenses and Inspections and had inspected the building May 14. CBS station KYW reports that was the last inspection before the fatal accident.


There’s been no mention of a suicide note, but Philadelphia police say that he sent his wife a text message before fatally shooting himself. The official investigation into the building collapse—which killed six people and injured 14 others—suggests that Wagenhoffer was not at fault, although police say that he declared the site safe after receiving a complaint in May.

Meanwhile, Sean Benschop, the 48-year-old crane operator who was allegedly high on marijuana at the time of the incident, was formally charged last weekend with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and risking catastrophe. Several of the victims’ families are also suing the demolition contractor, Griffin Campbell Construction, over its questionable safety practices at the site.