PHILADELPHIA -

A former licenses and inspections commissioner in Philadelphia blasted the city for what he said is a "historical continuing failure" in its responsibility to protect the public.

Bennett Levin served as L&I commissioner from 1992 through 1995. He said the department has gone from a public safety focus to an economic development role, to the detriment of the public.

Levin's impassioned remarks before a city council committee Thursday mark the fourth of five public hearings in the wake of a fatal building collapse.

The June 5 accident occurred when a downtown building being demolished collapsed onto a neighboring thrift store, killing two employees and four customers. Police allege a heavy equipment operator had been high on marijuana.

A grand jury will investigate whether anyone else should face criminal charges.