May 29, 2008 |
John Tull always knew where his father went. He could tell by the yellow index card hanging from a magnet on the metal backdoor of his Media home. It said one word: Fire. That meant Bob Tull had trudged off to risk his life again as a volunteer firefighter for Middletown Township. It's a social consciousness and sacrifice that apparently doesn't skip a generation, because his son John - a 6-1, 260-pound, 2-year starter at center on Archbishop Carroll High's football team - has followed his father's path to the firehouse and into harm's way. That's why playing in the 32nd annual Delaware County Hero Bowl at 7:30 tonight at Widener University probably means a little more to Tull than to anyone else on the field.
May 6, 2008 |
Flags flew at half-staff at Police Headquarters and police stations throughout Philadelphia yesterday in memory of slain Police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski. But at the Fire Administration Building, 240 Spring Garden St., and some fire stations around the city, the American flag flew at full staff. "It's a disgrace," said one fireman who asked not to be identified. "It doesn't make sense. " Call it a battle of tradition versus protocol. Or a tempest in a teapot. In a move that angered rank-and-file police and firefighters, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers issued what he said was a standard directive pointing out that American flags at all fire stations should be flown at full staff despite the 30-day period of mourning called for by Mayor Nutter.
February 14, 2008 |
March is mid-Atlantic mud season, when thawing farm fields are too squishy to be plowed well. So, across Lancaster County, volunteer fire companies hold annual "mud sales" of home furnishings and farm animals and equipment, taking commissions to help pay firehouse bills. Though it's mainly a March Lancaster County phenomenon, the first sale of the season takes place this Saturday in northwestern Chester County. The Honey Brook Fire Company is holding its annual consignment sale at the Romano 4-H Center on Route 322, across from the fuel storage tank farm.
January 6, 2008 |
To those who haven't been properly introduced, or who've only seen it on the fly, the stretch of Baltimore Avenue that approaches 50th Street in West Philadelphia is not quick to reveal its quirky charm. Rosemarie Certo admits to being guilty on both counts. Offered space to open a brewpub at this western edge of Cedar Park, she balked: "It was too far. " Too far from what? "Too far from 46th and Baltimore," which was about as far as she saw commercial possibility. She has come to adjust her view since, saying she has discovered profound value in the racial mix, arts scene, and political consciousness (ranging from prisoner-advocate vegan anarchists to establishmentarian Penn profs)
December 21, 2007 |
The branding of Broad Street as the Avenue of the Arts is one of those hokey marketing ploys that actually seems to have paid off. In the last decade, the blocks immediately south of City Hall have been transformed into Philadelphia's twinkling theater row. The cultural chain was extended another link in October, with the opening of the Suzanne Roberts Theatre at Lombard Street. Continue walking south, however, and the Avenue of the Arts doesn't seem so bright. The only lights you see emanate from gas stations and fast-food places.
July 30, 2007 |
THE CONVENTION Center expansion has been in the planning stages for more than a decade. It needs to expand, we're told, so that it can hold two conventions simultaneously. Ten years from now, will the center need to expand further, say north to Vine Street, for some other compelling reason? And, as it expands, why must a dozen buildings - several historic - simply be "vaporized"? State and local historic commissions have OK'd the expansion, and necessary demolition, citing the usual prevailing excuse - "the public interest.
June 27, 2007
IWANT TO clarify an impression that may have been left by the June 19 article "Firehouse vent system a $1.3M snafu. " I was quoted as saying, "It's more harmful to the community" to have fire-truck exhaust vented out of the firehouses. The implication is that Clean Air Council does not care about the health of firefighters who work inside these firehouses. This is far from the case. The council believes that the choice between community and firefighter health is a false one. Fire trucks, along with all heavy duty vehicles, should be retrofitted with the cleanest pollution-control technologies available to reduce toxic diesel emissions directly from the engines.
June 20, 2007 |
Because their work is so risky and dangerous, because the routine discharge of their duties requires so much death-defying physical courage, firefighters, like soldiers, are united by a special bond. The word often used to describe the intensity of that bond is brotherhood. So news of the warehouse fire in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine of their brothers was keenly felt yesterday by the firefighters of Philadelphia. "When something like this happens, it shoots across the country - pardon the expression - like wildfire," said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.
June 18, 2007
Save history Tom Belden's update on the Convention Center expansion (Business, Tuesday) overlooks a little-discussed aspect of this $700 million project. Of the dozen buildings scheduled for demolition, several are historic gems, notably the four buildings on the east side of Broad between Cherry and Arch, and the extraordinary firehouse at 1328 Race Street. Preserving and incorporating these buildings (not just their facades) would save the Convention Center millions in demolition costs and provide the area with much needed hotel and retail space.
January 20, 2007 |
The Fire Department's Engine 73 station house in West Oak Lane must be stuck under a dark cloud. The firehouse, undergoing repairs from a freak blaze on Jan. 6, caught fire again yesterday morning. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire in the ceiling of the building at 76th and Ogontz Avenues, but it had already caused more damage. The cause of the fire was under investigation. The station had been closed for repair work and its equipment posted elsewhere since the Jan. 6 fire, officials said.