Well what more proof do we need to illustrate the disastrous effects of Mayor Nutter’s public safety policies? Now we have two more dead children and there is the distinct possibility that more victims may die as a result of this fire yesterday in the Olney section of Philly. I personally talked with one of the firefighters who made the job and he told me how bad it really was. Once again, the first in company was browned out (closed) due to the Nutter administration’s ill-conceived fire department cutbacks. This is only February and we have nearly one-third the number of fatalities we had in all of last year.
I worked last night. There was ANOTHER fire in a browned out local that most likely won’t get a lot of coverage because no one died. Around 0400 we were called out to cover my old company in Chinatown because they were out fighting another serious fire. In the first job, Engine 45 was browned out and a fire broke out in their local. It turned out to be a tremendous job with heavy fire throughout the dwelling. We are seeing more and more super-intense fires that many of our younger guys have no experience with. Before these cuts and brownouts, it was getting fairly scarce to have this many intense fires. Not anymore. That only means more tragedy lies ahead.
Folks, it seems like once a week I am posting details of the impact these cuts are having on the department. Morale is destroyed. Equipment is wearing out. Manpower is spread too thin. Firefighters and medics are pushed to the limit and often beyond. And the bodies are piling up. Engine 61 would have been first on scene. The commissioner says that Engine 51 got there in an acceptable time (over 5 minutes). But he’s not saying how long it took them to get water on the fire. Five minutes is entirely too long for the FIRST IN company to simply arrive at the scene in an urban setting. It could still take another minute or two to get water on the fire (provided everything goes 100%) every time. With a fire like this you need multiple hose-lines quickly combined with ventilation by the ladder companies.
The delays are proving fatal, as our union is pointing out. Here’s the kicker: Mike Nutter will most probably run for re-election unopposed and that means no public debate over these cuts and policies. Somewhere, the devil cracks a smile.