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The death of this man marked the 28th fire death in Philadelphia this year. That surpasses last years mark of 27. While we are one death over last years mark, we still have a month and a half to go in 2010 and as anyone familiar with Philly can tell you, it can get damn cold in this part of the country in December. This is the second fire death in the past two weeks in South Philly. What’s more, the local Philly news media has apparently adopted a NO REPORT policy when it comes to the brownout situation affecting the PFD. Yet they are reporting the response time of the first arriving company. Stunning when you realize people are dying because of it. LINK
Lets review shall we?
1) In this latest fire Engine 24 was first in and made the job, around the corner from their station. However the SECOND IN engine USED TO BE Engine 01 (CLOSED BY THE NUTTER ADMINISTRATION). The result? A delay getting the second hose line on the fire. The result? Fire spread throughout the building. Note how much smoke is STILL pushing from the building after the media arrived and set up.
2) The first in ladder was Ladder 05 and they made the job. However this was a borderline run for Ladder 11. They would have arrived at about the same time as Ladder 05. UNFORTUNATELY LADDER 11 was CLOSED by the Nutter administration. The result? The man hanging out the back window was forced to jump as LADDER 19 coming from the far south end of South Philly (24th & Wolf) had to make the run. What is left out is that LADDER 09 most probably would have made the job as well. They are about the same distance (21st & Market Sts) north as ladder 19 is south from the job (an unacceptable distance). UNFORTUNATELY THEY WERE BROWNED OUT. That means Ladder 23 was pulled out of Chinatown as the Rapid Intervention Team.
3) The next company north of Ladder 23 was Ladder 01 and- you guessed it, CLOSED BY THE NUTTER ADMINISTRATION. The result? As conditions deteriorated inside the building an EMERGENCY EVACUATION ORDER was sounded. The fireground commanders became so concerned about the safety of the firefighters that they ordered a withdrawal. A retreat for safety reasons. I can tell you we listened to the radio transmissions from the fireground and it sent chills up the back of my neck. The disgust and anger was palpable in my crews reactions to this scenario.
My crew and I were ordered to South Philly to cover Ladder 27 when an additional ladder company was needed. By being moved to the other end of the city, my immediate local was without the protection of our firefighting capability. Yet even MORE HORRIFYING is that during this time frame there were NO LADDER COMPANIES SOUTH OF MARKET ST, RIVER TO RIVER and up into the lower end of North Philly. A lone Snorkel 2 sat at 4th & Arch.
No mention of any of this in any of the media coverage. As the Commissioner stated they had a tough time making entry to the building. Ironic isn’t it that forcible entry is a primary duty of ladder companies? Sure is. Longer response times, victims jumping from burning buildings, firefighters injured. This is the result of the Nutter administrations fire protection policies. They are irresponsible, dangerous and quite literally deadly. Period.