A man has died after jumping from the upper floors of a North Philadelphia home engulfed by flames Tuesday morning. Firefighters were called to the 2600 block of Lehigh Avenue at about 4:30 a.m. after reports of heavy flames in a three-story row home. A 60-year-old man reportedly jumped from an upstairs window in order to escape the burning home. He was rushed to Temple University Hospital with multiple fractures and burns to 90 percent of his body. He later died from those injuries. A woman was also taken to the hospital. Her condition was not immediately available. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. LINK
I didn’t make this fire but companies a few stations over from us did. I was working that night and as usual we were being pulled in every different direction because we are short of companies. There has been a lot of fires in Philly lately with more than a few deaths and injuries as a result. Most people never really get to see a working fire first hand. That’s both good and bad. It’s always good when you don’t have to be subjected to that kind of trauma. But it is also bad because most people only have a vague appreciation for what the fire department does. In fact you are more likely to interact with a Police Officer in the course of their duties than a Fireman.
Unless there is a fire on your street you may never understand the devastating impact it has on a block or neighborhood. That’s especially true when a fire claims a life as in this case. Unfortunately it is often the very old and/or the very young who die in fires. This last week young children were killed. Today an elderly man. He died horribly with significant burns. It’s tragic beyond comprehension. Yet the Nutter administration still wants more cuts to the fire department.
I am afraid it is going to be a growing trend. The Nutter administration is intent on cutting manpower and companies as well as buying fire trucks, that are poorly designed for the intense urban operations of the kind we face. A once proud department is being brought to its knees and no one cares. That means more injuries, more deaths and more destruction of property.
Death rides a pale horse.