Investigation into Kensington building collapse

KENSINGTON - August 8, 2012

Crews with Philadelphia Gas Works were called out to the scene Wednesday night for the report of a leak in the mess caused when a building between Madison and Willard streets in Kensington collapsed.

The gas line valves were turned off and PGW says there was no ruptured line. Officials believe the cause of the gas leak was a propane tank, but that has yet to be located.

The fire department declared the leak was not serious enough to spark evacuations.

"The only thing I'm worried about is if I have to leave my house and what's going on with this building," resident Dorene House said.

Several floors of the former lampshade factory came down just before 11:00 a.m., crushing a couple of vehicles.

"We heard a thud, a boom, then all this red smoke," said Frank Kopervoss of Kensington.

Three homes were evacuated and there were concerns someone was inside, but the fire department said it appears the building was empty.

"They need to hurry up and knock this down. It's been there for years. We are tired of seeing this building here and I'm sure it has all types of violations anyway," Brabham said.

L&I says it went to court last month to force the owner, who owes $33,000 in back taxes, to do something about the decaying property.

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