On June 5, 2013, a building collapse into the Salvation Army Thrift Store on 22nd and Market Street in Center City Philadelphia killed my precious 24-year-old daughter Anne and five others, and critically injured another. Anne was there for the first time, making a clothing donation.
We cannot allow such a preventable catastrophe to ever be forgotten or to happen again in our city, or anywhere. This tragedy was caused by the failure of the owner of the property under demolition, STB Investments, to hire competent demolition contractors, in an effort to save money, and by the decision of the Salvation Army to remain open despite knowledge of the risk of collapse. It is clear based upon the e-mails that are publically available that STB Investments proceeded with demolition which it knew was dangerous to “life and limb” and presented the foreseeable risk of an “uncontrolled collapse”. STB Investments and the Salvation Army knew that continuing demolition could kill people and make headlines. STB put lives at stake because of monetary decisions to protect their investments rather than the six lost victims of this deadly collapse. The Salvation Army Store should have been closed. We need better public safety protection in Philadelphia.
A memorial park on the site of the collapsed Salvation Army store would honor the memory of the dead and injured as well as provide an oasis in the center of a dense business district. This memorial park would be a fitting way to acknowledge the loss, to assure that it will never be forgotten and to remind the citizens of Philadelphia of the need for effective governmental oversight of building demolitions to protect public safety. An appropriate park and memorial can provide healing for the many people touched by this horrific, entirely avoidable event.
Those who died in the building collapse include my daughter, Anne Bryan, 24; Mary Simpson, 24; Kimberly Finnegan, 35; Roseline Conteh, 52; Borbor Davis, 68 and Juanita Harmon, 75. Mariya Plekan, 52, is severely injured, and she remains in the hospital today. Please sign and share this petition, and let the Salvation Army, leaders in Philadelphia, and the community at large know that you support a memorial on the site of this catastrophic building collapse."
Photo Mary Simpson (left) and Anne Bryan (right) Dec 30, 2012