Owner, charity liable in building collapse that killed 6

 (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

(Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

A jury found six parties share blame for the demolition accident that killed six people and injured thirteen at a Salvation Army Thrift store on Market Street.

The civil trial over damages has stretched over five months before Tuesday’s verdict. The jury in less than a day has found all the defendants liable.

That includes the person driving construction equipment, the owner of the building being demolished, Richard Basciano; architect Plato Marinakos Jr.; and the Salvation Army itself. Plaintiffs’ lawyers argued the charity’s leadership ignored warnings the neighboring building was being demolished dangerously.

Two people, heavy-equipment operator Sean Benschop and demolition contractor Griffin Campbell, have already been found guilty of criminal charges related to the case and are serving long prison terms. The building owner and the architect who oversaw the demolition were never charged criminally.

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In the next phase of the trial, the jury will determine how much defendents will have to pay victim’s families and those injured in damages.

Thirteen other people were buried in rubble but survived when a towering wall from an adjacent demolition project collapsed onto the small store. Some suffered permanent injuries.

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