“It wasn’t like the buildings were falling down,” said Bankston, who noted that demolition needs to be done carefully to avoid creating risks of collapse, such as by overloading floors with heavy debris.
He said his company left the project about a month ago amid a financial disagreement with the general contractor.
At least 60 firefighters responded to the collapse.
Campbell, 51, had been hired to raze three attached buildings with a cut-rate bid of $112,000, about a third of the next lowest bid. He could also keep whatever he could salvage. Campbell therefore “cannibalized” the building from the inside, removing the floors and support beams that stabilized the four-story walls, prosecutors said.
By the morning of June 5, 2013, all that remained of the former Hoagie City building was an unstable, 30-foot high brick wall attached to the one-story Salvation Army building.
“When that wall collapsed, it totally crushed that Salvation Army, and everyone inside,” Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Selber, the homicide chief, said in her opening statement.
The victims included two young artist friends dropping off donations, a mother of nine buying clothes to send to her native Sierra Leone and a newly engaged woman working her first day at the store. One survivor lost both legs after being trapped for 13 hours.