Local/State

PAFA student killed in Center City building collapse honored

Monday, June 10, 2013
Center City building collapse Firefighters view the aftermath of a building collapse, Thursday, June 6, 2013, in Philadelphia. On Wednesday, the building under demolition collapsed onto a neighboring thrift store, killing six people and injuring 14, including one who was pulled from the debris nearly 13 hours later. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A special service honored Anne Bryan, the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts student killed in the deadly building collapse in Center City.

"The music was beautiful, she loved poetry, the arts, music - they really showcased that tonight," said Sarah Pottenger, friend and classmate.

Hundreds filed in to the historic landmark building on North Broad Street on PAFA's campus to honor the 24-year-old painting major.

"It really reflected how kind Anne was and how concerned she is with others," said Pottenger.

PAFA's President and CEO David Brigham spoke at the service describing the staff's first impression of Anne.

"The words were 'she belongs here,' the school felt that way about her and she about the school," said Brigham.

"She was vivacious, funny and bright. One thing I admired about her was her work ethic," said Al Gury, Chair of PAFA Painting Department.

The service comes four days after last week's building collapse at 22nd and Market streets that killed six people and injured 13.

Bryan was inside the thrift store with her friend, Mary Simpson, who also was killed.

Bryan is the daughter of Philadelphia City Treasurer Nancy Winkler.

A number of city officials came to the service including Mayor Michael Nutter and his wife Lisa as well as L&I Commissioner Carlton Williams.

"I don't want to talk about this today, I'm here to pay respects to the family," said Williams.

Bryan's family declined to comment on Sunday.

The Anne Bryan Scholarship has also been set up in her honor at PAFA.

Meanwhile through a court order, two different attorneys for the victims injured in Wednesday's Center City building collapse toured the rubble site with their own investigators.

"The fact that there were brick support walls and no steel with them made this project impossible to demolish mechanically," said Robert Mongeluzzi, attorney.

Mongeluzzi says the only way to safely demolish this type of structure was by hand from the top down, which is more time consuming and costly.

"You get what you pay for. This was a $10,000 demolition project based on the permit that the owner selected and unfortunately six people of Philadelphia are the ones who paid that price," said Mongeluzzi.

Mongeluzzi says property owner Richard Basciano failed to properly lead the project.

"The owner has to select a competent demolition contractor, experienced, somebody who has background, experience, training and tools," he said.

Attorney Jonathan Cohen and his team used a laser scanning system to document the scene with three dimension computer imaging.

"We'll be able to show a jury what this looks like now and it changed from the way it used to stand," said Cohen.

Both attorneys say some of the debris has already been removed from the scene and taken into police custody.

A steel beam was also removed from the site. It's unknown where it was or how it was being used at the construction site but it could be a key player in the investigation.

"That's clearly a very crucial thing in terms of holding up loads of a structure and it's not something in any structure that you want to move with a backhoe knowing you're going to knock down everything else down," said Cohen.

Both attorneys say their next move is to get to the steel beam, which right now is off site and in police custody, that will help them further their investigation.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia City Council plans to announce a special committee to review the city's demolition and construction regulations.

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center city, philadelphia, collapse, local/state
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