March 12, 2015 |
We know enough now about the death of Firefighter Joyce Craig to say that many things went wrong the night she lost her life battling a West Oak Lane basement blaze. It's also clear that Craig's death is wrapped up in a larger problem: The Fire Department needs to recommit to giving its members the training they need and want. Craig's professionalism and bravery are not in question. Neither is the bravery of other firefighters who gave their lives battling fires in recent years: Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter Daniel Sweeney, killed in 2012 when a roof collapsed in an abandoned factory in Kensington.
March 11, 2015 |
A Philadelphia Fire Department investigation found delayed responses, tactical errors, and communication failures at the scene of the December blaze that killed Firefighter Joyce Craig, according to internal documents obtained by The Inquirer. The report reinforces accounts from firefighters that indicate critical time passed before commanders realized that Craig was unaccounted for and in grave danger. As other firefighters have said, Craig was pulled from the house 17 minutes after her first Mayday alarm sounded, when firefighters found her by chance.
March 9, 2015 |
The reenacting season opened with a literal cannon shot over the mud and snow at Fort Mifflin on Saturday afternoon. A diverse array of reenactors portraying German and Allied soldiers slogging through the bloody Battle of Verdun in 1916 looked on, and a group of 21st-century visitors watched in the bright sun, enticed by the fort's First World War reenactment and a break in the frigid weather. Despite the tangled, time-warpish nature of the gathering, it would seem a typical opening for Fort Mifflin, a local and National Historic Landmark by Philadelphia International Airport on the Delaware River.
March 7, 2015 |
In the moments before Philadelphia firefighter Joyce Craig lost her life in a West Oak Lane house fire, her coworker Nyree Bright stood at the top of a stairway filled with flames. Bright, on the job for just over two years, was holding the nozzle on a hose - the first line of attack in a predawn basement fire last Dec. 9. Her lieutenant and Craig, a decorated 11-year veteran working an overtime shift, were behind her. Minutes earlier, when they had walked into the house on the 1600 block of Middleton Street, only a light, hazy smoke had filled the first floor.
February 26, 2015
A REPORT BY the city's Inspector General's office that has recommended discipline for seven men in the city's Fire Department for sexual misconduct and harassment, and a report assessing the Police Department's stop-and-frisk program may seem unrelated. Although the separate and serious issues in each report should be dealt with, they also raise a larger question about the culture of departments that are supposed to insure public safety. A Daily News report on the IG's investigation into allegations that more than two dozen Fire Department employees took sexual advantage and harassed a mentally trouble female paramedic paints a sickening picture of a gender hell hole.
February 25, 2015 |
HAVING YOUR BOSS unzip his pants and "adjust himself" in front of you should not be part of anyone's workday. Neither should opening a desk drawer and discovering that a colleague has ejaculated all over its contents. But these stomach-turning events - and others just as offensive - were not unusual for female members of the Philadelphia Fire Department, the Daily News has found. Such incidents hint at larger ingrained problems - sexual harassment, discrimination and questionable relationships between supervisors and subordinates - that the department's leaders have ignored for years, critics say. In fact, the Inspector General's Office referenced systemic issues in its investigation into allegations that 15 Fire Department employees had sexual encounters with or sexually harassed a mentally troubled female paramedic.
February 13, 2015 |
The math should be simple: Investing in the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections protects the public from dangerous buildings, improves neighborhoods' quality of life, and lifts property values. According to a Nutter administration study group, L&I needs another $13.9 million, which would increase its $27.6 million budget by about half. That would pay for more building inspectors and more employees to concentrate on vacant properties. Workers would also be added to the Fire Department to take over fire inspections for L&I, a logical move considering that firefighters have to deal with the consequences of lax enforcement.
February 8, 2015 |
The Philadelphia Office of the Inspector General has recommended that seven Fire Department employees face discipline for their interactions with a female paramedic who filed a sexual harassment complaint against the department last year, union officials said Friday. Among the seven are two battalion chiefs who were determined to have had inappropriate relationships with the woman, a subordinate, according to documents obtained by The Inquirer. The chiefs were not named in the woman's initial complaint, but their involvement with her was revealed as the Inspector General's Office investigated her other claims.
February 4, 2015 |
The Nutter administration has put a price tag on fixing the Department of Licenses and Inspections: $13.9 million, which would cover 110 new city employees and their equipment. The department has about 300 employees and an annual budget of $27.6 million. Under the changes outlined in a draft report titled "L&I 2015 Plan for a Safer City," the agency would gain 83 employees. An additional 27 would go to other city agencies, including the Fire Department. The report is the administration's response to recommendations made by mayor's special independent advisory commission, which in October suggested 37 steps for reforming L&I. The commission - created in response to the 2013 Center City building collapse that killed six people and injured 13 - found that L&I was underfunded, had too many responsibilities, and would better operate as two agencies: a Department of Buildings and a Department of Business Compliance.
February 1, 2015 |
A Philadelphia paramedic has alleged that about a dozen fellow Fire Department employees pressured her into sex - including a supervisor and two Fire Academy instructors - over a four-year period, according to a source with knowledge of the woman's account. The alleged acts outlined in an official complaint filed last spring, the source said, included an instance in which a supervisor coerced her into a sex act and filmed it, and another in which two men locked her in an ambulance and ordered her to perform a sex act. The paramedic, whom The Inquirer is not naming because of the nature of the allegations, says that from 2011, when she was in the academy, to last year, she was pressured or coerced multiple times into having sex or performing sex acts.