Ex-Philly official blasts city at collapse hearing

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A former licenses and inspections commissioner in Philadelphia is blasting the city for what he says is a “historical continuing failure” in its responsibility to protect the public.

Bennett Levin was L&I commissioner from 1992 through 1995. He says the department has gone from a public safety focus to an economic development role, to the detriment of the public.

His impassioned remarks before a city council committee today mark the fourth of five public hearings in the wake of a fatal building collapse.

The June 5 accident occurred when a downtown building being demolished collapsed onto a neighboring thrift store, killing two employees and four customers. Police allege a heavy equipment operator had been high on marijuana.

A grand jury will investigate whether anyone else should face criminal charges.

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