Being one of the last people to visit Byberry before the untimely death of an environmental inspector is a bit unnerving. That could of been someone I was with or myself, not paying close enough attention to the structure, unaware of it's imminent collapse. It's like being jaded, for example with security; not getting caught for quite some time can get you to do some pretty ballsy things until it finally happens... it's a wake up call. Hopefully we will all tread more carefully now on; I know I will.
The approaching spring weather made for a beautiful and warm day, but the hulking mass of Byberry kept the freezing February air deep inside. It was a relief sticking your head out a window that wasn't boarded or stepping out on a roof to warm your hands. The harsh sunlight beamed in at odd angles but rarely penetrated the dark corners of the wards. As usual, the place was difficult to photograph, but there was a lot of noise in my photos for some reason (even at 100 ISO).
I had the older C buildings on my mind today, but wound up not spending as much time as I thought I would back there... I was checking out places that I've missed before out of curiosity. Still, it was a good day.
Below is the article about the inspector who was killed when a stairwell collapsed underneath him.
|Feb 17th, 2005|
Environmental inspector is killed in a fall at Byberry
An officer of an environmental services company inspecting a property for demolition yesterday on the grounds of the old Philadelphia State Hospital (Byberry) in the Far Northeast fell to his death after a stairway gave way, police said.
The victim was identified as James Lowe III, 49, of Spring City. Lowe worked for LVI Environmental Services Inc., a nationwide abatement and demolition company. The company's Web site identifies Lowe as president of the company's Philadelphia branch office, based in Downingtown.
Lowe and another employee, David Pearson, 38, were surveying from floor to floor in a Byberry building in the 2600 block of Southampton Road when the accident occurred.
Lowe fell two floors, police said. Pearson called 911 on his cellular phone. Fire paramedics pronounced Lowe dead at the scene at 10:50 a.m.- Thomas J. Gibbons Jr.