Couple's home collapses in South Philadelphia

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - September 21, 2012

"My husband called me on the phone and said, 'Better come back home, the house fell,'" said Olivia.

Olivia's husband George was outside the home on the 2300 block of Ellsworth Street when it happened.

But the Flamer's 19-year-old grandson, Rimeek Best, and his girlfriend were on the second floor.

"Thank God, later on they both came out through the rubble, both of them came out alive," said George Flamer.

George and Olivia say, quite frankly, they knew this would eventually happen.

They say the rumbling of heavy equipment from a construction project next door was slowly but surely crumbling their walls and foundation.

The Flamers say they have been complaining to Philadelphia's Licenses and Inspections for months.

Officials from L and I say they have no record of any complaints filed by anyone from the Flamer's address.

Action News was sent a statement from L and I that said in part, "The collapse on Ellsworth Street was caused by structural deficiencies in the wall, not because of construction activity nearby."

On top of all this, L and I has informed the Flamers that the cost of demolition and cleanup is their responsibility. On average, that comes out to about $15,000.

"They're going to tell me that I have to pay them to finish tearing it down? They're going to bill me? Oh no, I don't think so," said Olivia.

So the good news is that two people inside only suffered minor bumps and bruises. And for now the Flamers say they'll be staying with family and friends.

The bad news is the Flamers say their homeowners' insurance will not cover the cost of the demolition bill. City officials say they will place a lien on the property until that bill is paid.

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