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NEWS
July 9, 2014 | By Mike Newall and Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writers
Residents of Southwest Philadelphia turned out in force Monday night to demand answers after the weekend fire that killed four children, at times sparking an angry outcry that drew scores of police officers and set the neighborhood on edge. The protest, which resulted in several clashes and led to a number of arrests, followed an afternoon community meeting at which residents challenged the fire commissioner over how long it took firefighters to respond to Saturday's devastating early morning fire.
NEWS
July 7, 2014 | BY DAVID GAMBACORTA, Daily News Staff Writer gambacd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5994
FIRE COMMISSIONER Derrick Sawyer has fired back at the firefighters union in the yearslong battle over appropriate staffing levels. The Daily News earlier this week reported that the city ran out of available medic units multiple times on the same day. The department had acknowledged that a large influx of calls left the city without any available ambulances for 11 minutes beginning about 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The problem arose again about 5:30 p.m. that same day, when numerous ambulances had to respond to a horrific food-truck explosion in Feltonville that left 13 people injured, including five critically.
NEWS
July 3, 2014 | BY DAVID GAMBACORTA & WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writers gambacd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5994
TUESDAY afternoon would've been a bad time to suffer a heart attack or other medical emergency in Philadelphia. The city didn't have any ambulances available. Zero. Peter Crespo, the Fire Department's executive chief, confirmed yesterday that about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, the city's ambulance corps was completely tapped out for about 11 minutes. "It was just with the temperature, and a large influx of calls that came in," Crespo said. "For some reason, around that time frame there was just a large spike.
NEWS
June 6, 2014 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mayor Nutter has chosen a 29-year veteran of the Fire Department to succeed Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, who will retire next week. Derrick Sawyer, deputy fire commissioner for operations, will take the lead in the 2,300-member department on June 14, Nutter announced Wednesday. Nutter also announced promotions Wednesday that amounted to a new look for the department's top brass - possibly its most diverse look ever, the mayor noted. It includes the first female deputy commissioner and the first Latino executive chief.
NEWS
March 30, 2014 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA Authorities say arson caused a predawn Friday fire in a vacant North Philadelphia rowhouse owned by City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez. Police, the fire marshal, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, part of a citywide arson task force, are investigating. William Dell, a battalion chief with the Fire Department, said the fire was reported at 5:33 a.m. and was quickly controlled with no injuries reported. Quiñones Sánchez said she and her husband, Tomas Sánchez, lived in the Victorian on the 2000 block of North Hancock Street, near Norris Park, for 18 years before moving six months ago to a home two blocks away.
NEWS
March 21, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
WHEN OFFICERS Ned Felici and Richard Holland pulled up to a home in the Castor section of Northeast Philadelphia one morning last August, they had no choice but to spring into action. That's standard procedure when a 2-year-old boy is clinging to power lines three stories above the ground. "We didn't really think; we just wanted to get him down," Felici, a 15-year veteran of the department, said yesterday after receiving a commendation for the rescue. "We didn't have time to wait for rescue or the fire department - we had to do it. " So, Felici and Holland scrambled to gain entry to the home, on Wells Street near Loretto Avenue.
NEWS
March 18, 2014 | By Angelo Fichera, Inquirer Staff Writer
PENNSAUKEN Mike Sammon stood in Pennsauken's Fire Station No. 4 on a recent afternoon as winter at last began yielding to spring. "I've been here half my life," Sammon, 46, said, a gold fire-rescue charm around his neck. "It's been home to me. " But as of March 31, the 89-year-old Delaware Gardens Volunteer Fire Company will close in an effort to increase efficiency and firefighter safety, officials say. Contributing in large part to the decision is a decline in fire volunteers, a national trend that has hit home for the station on 49th Street.
NEWS
March 17, 2014 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vellav@phillynews.com, 215-854-2513
IN MID-DECEMBER, a Roxborough fire station was forced to close its doors after noxious fumes sent a firefighter to the hospital. Now, almost exactly three months later, the station remains closed, and investigators still haven't located the exact source of those fumes, according to the Fire Department. Engine Company 66, on Ridge Avenue near Shawmont, has been empty since Dec. 18, when a firefighter was taken to Roxborough Memorial Hospital after becoming dizzy and light-headed.
NEWS
February 17, 2014
Neighbors had complained that the former Thomas W. Buck Hosiery factory had become a haven for vagrants, who warmed themselves with fires while scrappers picked away at the pipes and wiring. In the blaze that inevitably followed years of neglect and slipshod code enforcement at the decrepit Kensington building, two firefighters died and two others were hurt. Given high winds that blew embers toward nearby homes and businesses, it's remarkable that there weren't more losses. But the absentee owners, father and son slumlords Nahman and Michael Lichtenstein - who ripped off the previous owner, let the building decay, ignored numerous citations, and failed to pay their taxes - didn't suffer a scratch.
NEWS
February 5, 2014 | BY DAVID GAMBACORTA, Daily News Staff Writer gambacd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5994
THERE ISN'T a hint of a silver lining to the April 2012 Kensington factory fire that claimed the lives of two Philadelphia firefighters. A grand-jury report released yesterday by the District Attorney's Office laid the blame for the deaths of Lt. Robert Neary and firefighter Daniel Sweeney at the feet of Michael and Nahman Lichtenstein, the arrogantly reckless owners of the former Thomas Buck Hosiery factory, and the gang that couldn't shoot straight...
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