SHOP TALK

Heavy fire consumes the old Edison High School building @ 7th & Lehigh.

Today I was working the second half of a double shift. 24 hours starting 6pm yesterday through to 6pm tonight. It was a usual tour for all intents and purposes. Last night the police called us out to help them search some neighborhood roofs. A drug suspect they were chasing threw a gun away. Everyone was pretty adamant that it landed on the roof but after an extensive search we couldn’t find it. This was the second time in two nights we were called out by the local constabulary. The night before a zombie-bandit broke into the local Modell’s. Again we threw up ladders and even pulled some ceiling down since we thought the thug was still inside. Again no luck. The burglar apparently broke out through the facade and made his get away empty-handed. Oh well. 0-2.

The real drama however hit in shortly after noon today. We were just sitting down for lunch when we heard the alarm room strike out a box alarm that wasn’t all that far away. One of the guys identified the building from memory: an abandoned school over on Lehigh Ave. If his suspicions were correct we could be in for some trouble. He was right. The initial report wasn’t comforting: three-story building a couple of hundred feet by a couple hundred feet. Heavy fire through the roof. All companies heaviest water lines. That was how this massive fire in North Philly BEGAN. Shortly thereafter the second alarm was struck. I was in  the process of wolfing down chicken salad on a bagel (I was starving) as we got into the engine to respond. (Today I was working in a different company, an engine unlike my usual ladder assignment). We all knew this would be a long afternoon. When we were only a block or so from the station this is what we saw:

Heavy smoke visible from a couple of miles away.

But as we go closer the job just seemed to get bigger:

And bigger:

Ugly column of black smoke rises from 7th & Lehigh as we close in on the scene.

The old Edison High School goes up in flames as was predicted.

ACTION NEWS LINK

This is what the City Controller said about this building:

The former Edison High School in North Philadelphia – a three-acre building that has been abandoned for 13 years – was marked by officials as a fire hazard years ago. “If they would have listened to me three years ago — when I said to demolish this building — the lives of firefighters and citizens would not have been placed in jeopardy like they were today,” Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz told NBC Philadelphia Wednesday. SHOCKING LINK HERE

This news report is stunning and typical. Anyway I’m dirty and tired. I need a few days off to recover. Next week Scout Camp with the boy. Should be fun.

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3 Responses to SHOP TALK

  1. Bob G. says:

    Cap:
    EDISON?
    Abandoned?
    Ok, now I KNOW I’m getting old….wow!

    BTW, I ALSO thought it was a CRIME to tear down the ORIGINAL Lincoln High School (my alma mater – class of 1970) to build a “new” one…WTF were they thinking?

    Roll safe out there.

  2. Bob Orr says:

    No printable comment. The brilliance of Mayor Squidward strikes again. Hang in, Cap.

  3. Cs says:

    Wow now thats honesty from the controller. Allen for mayor!

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