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Inspector linked to fatal Philly collapse commits suicide

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, June 13, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — A veteran Philadelphia building inspector who apparently committed suicide had inspected the site of a deadly building collapse twice in February and an adjacent, related project in mid-May.

The June 5 collapse killed six people when a four-story building tumbled onto a small thrift shop. The demolition site consisted of three attached buildings.

City records show that Ronald Wagenhoffer inspected the site before work began on Feb. 12 and again on Feb. 25, after it got underway. He returned to the strip of attached storefronts on May 14 after a citizen complained about the demolition being conducted at the building next door to the one that collapsed. Wagenhoffer found the complaint unfounded.

Mayor Michael Nutter called the death Wednesday of 52-year-old Wagenhoffer “astounding” and “painful.”

“We had six people who died in the building collapse, and now we've had another person perish because of this particular tragedy,” Nutter said in Chicago, where he was attending a conference Thursday. “This was just astounding to find this out.”

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