December 31, 2015
By Michael Nadol and Edward M. Dunham Jr. In 2015, a series of audits and investigative reports have highlighted ongoing challenges and flaws in Philadelphia's Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I). These efforts largely followed up on previous expert reviews by Mayor Nutter's Special Independent Advisory Commission and City Council. Outside the spotlight's glare, the city has been actively working to rebuild and reform its building safety programs: Annual funding for L&I has increased from $21.5 million to $31.5 million over the past three years - with authorized positions up from 300 to 384. A comprehensive technology upgrade has been launched, and the first phase is operational.
October 26, 2015 |
Donald H. Fey, 82, a Korean War veteran, former Philadelphia firefighter, and retired fund-raising writer, died Sunday, Oct. 18, of heart failure at Bryn Mawr Hospital. Mr. Fey, of Drexel Hill, whose daughter is award-winning writer and actress Tina Fey, was a professional writer for more than 30 years, primarily in fund-raising and development. He helped raise more than $500 million for schools, hospitals, and public-service agencies. In 1992, he retired from Thomas Jefferson University, where he was director of development communications.
August 17, 2015 |
The Philadelphia medic noticed smoke rising from the engine just as he steered his ambulance off I-95. He and his partner were on their way to a medical emergency when their ambulance began to smoke. Then, a bang - a "loud explosion," the medic remembered. They pulled over and scrambled from their seats as the smoke grew heavy and thick. On the side of the road, they watched as flames licked up the side of the ambulance. In the year since that fire in 2014, sources and records obtained by The Inquirer indicate that accident wasn't an anomaly - that an ambulance bursting into flames is just an extreme example of the deteriorating, sometimes dangerous fleet operated by the Philadelphia Fire Department.
July 21, 2015 |
IT WAS HOT and hellish enough yesterday, but then an arsonist or two had to go and blow up a building, allegedly, in South Philly, police said. Philadelphia police say the three-alarm blaze that gutted a building on Juniper Street near Snyder Avenue and sent flames high into the air just after 3 a.m. yesterday has been deemed suspicious, though the Philadelphia Fire Department won't make an official ruling until today. "That s--- was flaming. It was hot, burning up the whole block," said Harry Little, 69, who lives across the street from the three-story building.
May 27, 2015 |
Joseph C. Flores, 59, of Northeast Philadelphia, a retired Philadelphia fire official, died Saturday, May 16, at home of unclear causes. Mr. Flores retired as a captain in the Philadelphia Fire Department in 2004 after a 28-year career. A Navy veteran, he was certified as a fire-protection specialist and worked professionally and as a volunteer to prevent fires. During his years with the Fire Department, he specialized in planning for the evacuation of high-risk populations - those in hospitals, assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, schools, high-rise buildings, industrial settings, and day-care centers.
April 3, 2015 |
A day after an internal presentation of a Philadelphia Fire Department critique detailing errors and delays in the December blaze that killed Firefighter Joyce Craig, the report's author wrote in an official department log that he was being pressured to redact portions of his work. Deputy Chief Rich Davison, the author of the report, wrote that Deputy Commissioner Jesse Wilson - the department's second-in-command - had asked for redactions and explained his request with the suggestion that "some statements in the critique could hurt the city," according to a copy of the entry obtained by The Inquirer.
March 19, 2015 |
Two Philadelphia Fire Department employees have accepted undisclosed punishment in a sexual harassment scandal that has roiled the department, officials said Tuesday. The employees, whose names and ranks were not released, waived a departmental hearing on the allegations against them and chose to accept punishment, Frank Keel, a spokesman for the firefighters' union, said in a statement. They are among seven - two battalion chiefs, a captain, a lieutenant, a paramedic, and two firefighters - who faced discipline for their interactions with a paramedic who filed a sexual harassment complaint against the department last year.
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 9, 2015 |
THE LURID SEX scandal that has haunted the Philadelphia Fire Department since it became public a week ago has, amazingly, become even more controversial. Joe Schulle, the president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22, suggested at a news conference yesterday that the city is trying to cover up information about the scandal, which is threatening to topple the careers of seven Fire Department employees. Schulle said the union has only received redacted portions of a report summing up an Inspector General's Office investigation into allegations that numerous firefighters had sexual encounters with a woman paramedic, who, multiple sources have said, is mentally troubled.
January 30, 2015 |
More than a dozen members of the Philadelphia Fire Department, including supervisors, have been accused of having sex with a paramedic while on duty, according to a well-placed source in the Nutter administration. The sex acts were consensual and are alleged to have been committed in Fire Department facilities and vehicles, the source said. The allegations were investigated by the city Office of the Inspector General, which has completed a report and recommended disciplinary action, according to the source.