PHILADELPHIA (FOX 29) - A Fishtown family attempted to save whatever they could after their home partially collapsed and had to be demolished.
While a backhoe clawed at the debris, the Klenk family pulled from the rubble what they could salvage of decades of life in their Fishtown home.
"You see what a tragedy this actually is in having to run out with just the shirt on their backs. You see items like this—stuff you can’t replace," the owner's son Shawn Klerk said.
It was Friday mid-afternoon when the four people inside 635 East Thompson Street, including the 94-year-old owner, Clovena Klenk, were ordered to get out fast when construction work on the home next door compromised both.
"They heard a bang and the walls caved in, floors went down, the foundation shook—the steps pulled away from the wall,' the owner's daughter Karen Klenk said.
Everyone got out safely and Saturday the Klenks were allowed on to the upper floors to grab what they could, but by Sunday morning both 633 and 635 East Thompson had to be knocked down.
The Department of Licenses and Inspections reports Q-Construction who were excavating in the basement next door at 633 “grossly exceeded” its permit and put lives in danger.
A concrete contractor tells FOX 29 he was asked to take a look at the foundation “two days earlier”last Wednesday and has shown FOX 29 a photo of what he says are wooden supports holding up a basement wall in 633 East Thompson Wednesday afternoon.
Repeated calls to Q-Construction went unanswered.
The family says it will rebuild.
"It’s just a meeting place where we all met almost every Sunday just spend time together," the owner's grandson Jim Sampson said.