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Philadelphia Fire Department

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NEWS
January 19, 2012 | By Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
When the state agency that oversees the city's finances commissioned a report on the Philadelphia Fire Department two years ago, it was with the hope that a rational examination of the department's political hot-button issues could be done. That study, released Wednesday, did not shy away from some of the most controversial problems - referencing in the first few pages the distrust between labor and management, and the history of racial and gender tensions in the ranks. The report also described a Fire Department culture "resistant to change," and was critical of a management structure that "tends to reinforce the status quo. " "The gap between the current reality and the department's aspirations for itself is wide," the study said.
NEWS
February 9, 2001 | by Yvonne Latty, Daily News Staff Writer
Firefighter Tim McShea is a modest kind of a guy. For 23 years, he has been a hard-working firefighter, spending most of his career assigned to busy Ladder 22 in Juniata. But besides fighting fires, this decorated firefighter spends every minute of his spare time volunteering. He coaches kids for Holy Innocents CYO Athletics and St. Hubert's High School JV Softball. He's president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 22. He sings with the Mummers Chorus and runs the Juniata Strutters.
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
October 8, 2014 | By Chris Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
A 1975 federal consent decree designed to remedy discrimination against blacks in the Philadelphia Fire Department has been dissolved. As a result of a ruling last week by U.S. District Judge Timothy Rice, Philadelphia is free of the court-ordered hiring requirements put in place to boost the percentage of African Americans serving in the city fire department. When the decree was issued 39 years ago, about 7 percent of the city's fire fighters were black. Today the figure is about 27.6 percent and an African American - Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer - leads the department's 2,100 uniformed employees.
NEWS
July 29, 1991 | The Philadelphia Inquirer / MICHAEL BRYANT
ARSON INVESTIGATOR Tom Halpin, of the Philadelphia Fire Department, examines the charred remains of Philadelphia Suzuki in the 2600 block of Castor Avenue. A four-alarm fire destroyed the Northeast motorcycle dealership early yesterday morning. The cause of the fire, which gutted the building, was under investigation.
NEWS
May 6, 2010
WILLIAM RICHMOND was the fire commissioner during the siege on Osage Avenue. 1985: The MOVE Commission said that after a police helicopter dropped a bomb on a bunker on the roof of the MOVE house, starting a fire, Richmond conferred with Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor and decided to let the bunker burn. The commission said allowing the fire to burn constituted the use of fire as a tactical weapon. The MOVE Commission report also said that Richmond had advised Sambor that they could let the bunker burn and contain the blaze later.
NEWS
September 21, 1994 | By Henry Goldman, Dianna Marder and Wanda Motley, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS Contributing to this article were Inquirer staff writers Richard Jones, Dale Mezzacappa, Walter F. Roche Jr. and Daniel Rubin
The eight-alarm Quaker Lace factory fire might have been contained and 12 nearby houses saved if the owner had not removed the fire walls from the rambling 150-year-old structure two weeks ago, a city official said yesterday. Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Bennett Levin said that inspectors were at the vacant North Philadelphia factory on Sept. 8 for a routine inspection and found demolition work being performed inside without a permit. Inspectors declared the building dangerous at that time, Levin said, because fire walls had been torn down.
NEWS
July 14, 2014 | By Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
SOMEONE IN Southwest Philly needs to start snitching. Because someone knows how the Gesner Street fire started in the wee hours of July 5, destroying eight homes, taking the lives of four tots and injuring the mother who tried to save them. Neighbors have said they heard fireworks going off just before the inferno erupted. Its heat melted siding off homes across the street. But none of the residents I spoke with would even speculate about who might have caused the fire. "Whoever did it, it was an accident," said a neighbor.
NEWS
July 19, 2004
RE VERN Anastasio's letter (July 1): I couldn't agree more. As the son of a retired Philadelphia firefighter, I believe it is morally wrong to cut the city budget on the backs of the hard-working men and women of the Philadelphia Fire Department. After 9/11, the brave men and women who protect our streets and neighborhoods are needed more than ever to keep our great city safe. I also agree that the Street administration "is doing a perfectly horrible job growing our economy, our jobs, our services and our fiscal security.
NEWS
December 11, 2014 | By Helen Ubinas, Daily News Columnist
ALBERTO GONZALEZ knew what he'd be doing first thing yesterday morning when he heard the news. "Did you hear that?" his wife asked. "I think they said a firefighter died. " Gonzalez sat up in bed and focused on the newscast. Joyce Craig-Lewis, an 11-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department and mother of two, died early yesterday morning after being trapped in the basement of a burning West Oak Lane rowhouse. She was the city's first female firefighter killed in the line of duty.
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NEWS
December 11, 2014 | Inquirer Editorial Board
It's a sad day in Philadelphia when a firefighter is killed, even though it's accepted that facing death is part of the job. Added to the list of the fallen Tuesday was Joyce Craig-Lewis, 36, who died in the smoky haze of a basement fire inside a West Oak Lane home. She becomes the first female member of the Philadelphia Fire Department to die in the line of duty. An investigation is ongoing to determine how Craig-Lewis became isolated and trapped in the basement. Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said basement fires are particularly challenging.
NEWS
December 11, 2014 | By Helen Ubinas, Daily News Columnist
ALBERTO GONZALEZ knew what he'd be doing first thing yesterday morning when he heard the news. "Did you hear that?" his wife asked. "I think they said a firefighter died. " Gonzalez sat up in bed and focused on the newscast. Joyce Craig-Lewis, an 11-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department and mother of two, died early yesterday morning after being trapped in the basement of a burning West Oak Lane rowhouse. She was the city's first female firefighter killed in the line of duty.
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
October 27, 2014 | By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer
It was a disaster waiting to happen. At 10 a.m. Saturday - as scheduled - a startling bang and a few puffs of multicolored smoke kicked off a carefully planned emergency-preparedness exercise at Philadelphia International Airport. Strewn across the runway were more than 100 volunteer victims and an American Airlines jet. "I can't feel my leg!" one victim called out. The live drill, required every three years by the Federal Aviation Administration, had begun. As the airport's Engine 78 arrived first on scene, the air-traffic control tower declared a major aircraft incident at the highest level.
NEWS
October 22, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
      Robert R. Cowden Sr. was sworn in as a Philadelphia fireman at age 19 on Aug. 3, 1959. For 32 years, he devoted his life to fighting fires, first as a rookie, later as a lieutenant and captain, and finally as a city fire battalion chief. His climb up the Philadelphia Fire Department hierarchy mirrored a family pattern in place for four generations; Cowden men had served as city firemen since 1889. They thrived on the work and the challenge. "They lived and breathed it. It's not their job, it's who they were," said Mr. Cowden's son, Robert R. Jr. Mr. Cowden, 74, died Wednesday, Oct. 15, from complications of congestive heart failure at his daughter's home in Montgomery County.
NEWS
October 8, 2014 | By Chris Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
A 1975 federal consent decree designed to remedy discrimination against blacks in the Philadelphia Fire Department has been dissolved. As a result of a ruling last week by U.S. District Judge Timothy Rice, Philadelphia is free of the court-ordered hiring requirements put in place to boost the percentage of African Americans serving in the city fire department. When the decree was issued 39 years ago, about 7 percent of the city's fire fighters were black. Today the figure is about 27.6 percent and an African American - Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer - leads the department's 2,100 uniformed employees.
NEWS
September 28, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Memorial services are set for Saturday, Oct. 18, for John R. Hild Sr., 71, a retired Philadelphia fire captain and safety administrator, who died Tuesday, Aug. 12, of bladder cancer at a hospice in Lecanto, Fla. A longtime resident of Southwest Philadelphia, Mr. Hild had retired to Crystal River, Fla., in 2003. Born in Philadelphia, he graduated in 1961 from John Bartram High School, where he played baseball. After high school, Mr. Hild enlisted in the Marine Corps and served eight years as an active reservist.
NEWS
July 30, 2014 | By Barbara Boyer, Inquirer Staff Writer
Westville authorities want the Philadelphia Fire Department to pay for the borough's fire boat, claiming that it was totaled by the wake of a Philadelphia fire boat. In documents filed in state and federal courts, Westville alleges that both departments responded to a fire at Dock 4 at the BP Petroleum plant in Paulsboro. According to the lawsuit, on the evening of Sept. 16, 2010, Westville firefighters arrived first in their FB7 vessel, contained the blaze, and advised Philadelphia that further assistance was not needed from the city's boat, the Independence.
NEWS
July 22, 2014
RE: "FOP prez and reporter's ethics" story: Stop crying, you big baby! You're saying the Daily News reporters brought diapers, food and paid utility bills for their sources. When the cops pay their "confidential informants" - yes, pay them - what do you think they do with the money? I bet most of them buy drugs! You can't do it and then bitch when other people do it to get info. They are doing their jobs, like you cops do yours. Bobby LaVelle Philadelphia No lesson plan Just can't understand how executives, like the school superintendent, can use their knowledge and expertise to to further their careers but develop amnesia when they actually get the position.
NEWS
July 14, 2014 | By Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
SOMEONE IN Southwest Philly needs to start snitching. Because someone knows how the Gesner Street fire started in the wee hours of July 5, destroying eight homes, taking the lives of four tots and injuring the mother who tried to save them. Neighbors have said they heard fireworks going off just before the inferno erupted. Its heat melted siding off homes across the street. But none of the residents I spoke with would even speculate about who might have caused the fire. "Whoever did it, it was an accident," said a neighbor.
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