Man survives building collapse after high-wind warning

Charles Mostoller

Turhon Eulette, an auto body worker, suffered minor injuries to his head, neck and back when part of a building on the 5000 block of Warrington Street collapsed early Sunday morning.

Eulette was sitting inside his parked, tan-colored sedan when bricks topped onto the roof of it, as well as at least four other vehicles, leaving him injured, when the collapse occurred in Southwest Philadelphia during a high winds warning.

The car is crushed, but Eulette walked away mostly unscathed. According to the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections, just after 5 a.m., part of the front wall of an unused warehouse collapsed during a high wind warning issued by the city.

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Strong winds pulled down live electric power lines and damaged several parked cars beneath the building — and Eulette was inside.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, treated for minor injuries and released.

“This property was in a dangerous condition. It can’t stand there the way it was fora sustained period of time, and so what will happen is this owner is taking responsibility for the situation, and he is having a demolition contractor come in and arranging for a private completion of the demolition of the property,” said Karen Guss, a spokeswoman for L&I.

L&I cited the building owner on Monday and quickly took “make safe” actions to protect public safety at the site by bringing in a crew to remove debris. They then took the remainder of the front wall down to an eight-foot height and fenced it off.

Demolition of the entire structure by the owner isexpected to begin over the course of the coming week.

“It is likely that the existing condition of the building, especially deterioration of the roof system, in combination with the severe weekend weather, led to the collapse,” L&I Commissioner David Perri said in a news release.

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“L&I will make a final determination of the cause once the department has the opportunity to conduct a full review.”

A high wind warning went into effect in Philadelphia County at midnight Saturday and lasted until 11:50a.m. Sunday.

Guss said there were other incidents Saturday night that lasted into Sunday related to high winds, but that Warrington Street’s was the most dramatic.

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