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Inspector in Philadelphia building collapse kills self

PHILADELPHIA — A veteran inspector who surveyed a downtown building weeks before it collapsed, killing six people, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound a week after the accident, authorities said Thursday.

Ronald Wagenhoffer, 52, was found shot in the chest in a pickup truck around 9 p.m. Wednesday. A longtime employee with the Department of Licenses and Inspections, Wagenhoffer had inspected the building May 14 and signed off on demolition work underway, after getting complaints about the site from the public, Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison said.

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That was three weeks before the vacant four-story building collapsed onto a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store on June 5, killing two employees and four customers and injuring 13 other people.

‘‘With the building collapse a week ago, we have now lost seven lives in connection with this tragedy,’’ Gillison said, adding that Wagenhoffer leaves behind a wife and son. ‘‘This man did nothing wrong. The department did what it was supposed to do.’’

Wagenhoffer was a 16-year city employee who worked his way up through the ranks to building inspector, according to city officials.

The department’s head, Carlton Williams, said Wagenhoffer did everything he could to protect people.

‘‘We strive to protect our citizens by enforcing the building codes,” Williams said. “And that’s what Ron did. He was a dedicated civil servant who loved his job.’’

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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