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