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NEWS
December 11, 2014 | By Mike Newall, Chris Hepp, and Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writers
As intense heat and smoke poured from the blazing basement of a house in West Oak Lane early Tuesday, the firefighters attacking the flames with a hose were ordered to get out. The woman who lived there had been rescued. Another company was poised to go in through a back entrance to fight the flames. With conditions deteriorating, a commanding officer had said over the radio around 2:30 a.m. that that would be safer. The firefighters began to retreat as directed, battling disorienting heat and blinding smoke.
NEWS
December 11, 2014 | BY DANA DiFILIPPO, MORGAN ZALOT, DAVID GAMBACORTA & MENSAH DEAN, Daily News Staff Writers difilid@phillynews.com, 215-854-5934
WHEN THEY are older, and showing their own children photo albums that have far too many blank spaces, Mehki Donte Green and Laylani Lewis will say that their mother died a hero on a soggy, bitterly cold day in Philadelphia. Their mom, veteran Philadelphia Firefighter Joyce Craig-Lewis, lost her life while battling a hellacious blaze in West Oak Lane in the early morning darkness yesterday, earning a heartbreaking place in the city's history as the first female firefighter to die in the line of duty.
NEWS
December 7, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Dec. 6, for William Collier, 80, of Buckingham Township, a teacher and firefighter who died Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Doylestown Hospital of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The 11 a.m. service will take place at the Bux-Mont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2040 W. Street Rd., Warrington. Burial is private. "Bill," as he was called, first taught in the Maple Shade School District in 1957. Later, he joined the Hatboro-Horsham School District and spent 37 years as a social studies teacher.
NEWS
November 30, 2014 | By Michael Boren, Inquirer Staff Writer
An Atlantic City firefighter fell through the floor of an abandoned rowhouse, and two others were injured, as they rescued a woman from a two-alarm blaze less than an hour after their Thanksgiving meal Thursday. The blaze ignited around 6:55 p.m. on a block of abandoned rowhouses, the windows and doors covered with plywood, along Lighthouse Court. Investigators are calling the blaze suspicious - there was no working electricity or heat in the home that could have caused it. When firefighters arrived at the home, they had to rip off plywood and cut it with a saw, Atlantic City Fire Chief Dennis J. Brooks said Friday.
NEWS
November 26, 2014 | BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer shawj@phillynews.com, 215-854-2592
A 55-YEAR-OLD MAN who was involved in an accident that killed an off-duty Philadelphia firefighter was sentenced yesterday to 30 to 60 days in county jail. Teddy Wilson had been convicted of DUI by Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner, and acquitted of homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter. "This was a very, very difficult case to try," the judge said yesterday. After reviewing witness accounts, "I am absolutely convinced in a system where the commonwealth bears the burden . . . there was absolutely no way any fair fact finder could determine . . . who was responsible for this accident.
NEWS
November 11, 2014 | By Angelo Fichera, Inquirer Staff Writer
Joe Chambers was the right person with the right training at the right time. And a Philadelphia police officer could owe his life to that. About 5:20 p.m. Saturday, the 17-year-old high school senior from Ridley Park was watching an episode of Cops while visiting his sister on Tasker Street in Grays Ferry when he heard a loud bang. "I know the sound of an accident," said Chambers, who doubles as a volunteer firefighter. "I jumped right up. " When he peered out the window at the corner of 28th and Tasker Streets, he saw a police cruiser throwing sparks and leaking fluids - the result of a collision with a black pickup truck.
NEWS
October 22, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
A PHILADELPHIA firefighter arrested recently with his girlfriend, for allegedly beating up his pregnant ex-wife and her boyfriend, was cleared of the most serious charges and released from jail yesterday. Michael Lawson, 38, will be tried on two misdemeanor counts of simple assault, after felony counts of aggravated assault and all other charges related to his ex-wife were dropped by Municipal Judge Karen Y. Simmons at the end of a preliminary hearing. Sada Greenlee, Lawson's girlfriend, was held for trial on aggravated assault and related counts for the alleged attack of Lawson's ex-wife, Shareba Timbers.
NEWS
October 17, 2014 | By Amy Worden and Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - Confronted by a gunman just blocks from the state Capitol, a legislator from Northeastern Pennsylvania pulled his own weapon and traded fire with a would-be robber. No one was hurt in the Tuesday night shootout, and police arrested four teens and charged them for their alleged roles in the attempted street robbery. But the firefight had the Capitol buzzing on the last day of its legislative session and underscored the difference between life in the golden dome and the gritty city that surrounds it. Rep. Marty Flynn (D., Luzerne)
NEWS
October 4, 2014 | By Vernon Clark and Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writers
Two Philadelphia firefighters were charged Thursday with separate crimes - one with kidnapping and sexual assault while impersonating a police officer, and the other with assaulting his pregnant ex-wife and her boyfriend. Lt. Jemal Johnson, 45, an 18-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department, was arrested after a 48-year-old woman alleged that she was forced to perform a sex act on him late Wednesday night. Johnson was driving his Nissan pickup truck at 13th and Ruscomb Streets in the city's Logan section around 10:30 p.m. when he pulled over and began questioning a woman who had just left a friend's home, said Police Lt. John Stanford, a department spokesman.
NEWS
October 3, 2014 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writer farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
TWO PHILADELPHIA firefighters - one of them a lieutenant - are in hot water after being arrested this week in separate bizarre and disturbing incidents. In the first case, Fire Department Lt. Jemal Johnson is accused of impersonating a police officer and forcing a woman to perform sexual acts on him on Wednesday night. In the second case, Firefighter Michael Lawson and his girlfriend are accused of violently assaulting Lawson's pregnant ex-wife and her new beau on separate occasions.
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