Philadelphia inspector Ronald Wagenhoffer kills self after deadly collapse

Last modified: Thursday, June 13, 2013
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 Feb. 12 and again Feb. 25, after it got under way. He returned to the strip of attached storefronts 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.”

A demolition subcontractor, 42-year-old Sean Benschop, has been charged with six counts of involuntary manslaughter for allegedly being “impaired” by marijuana and painkillers while operating an excavator.