October 27, 2014 |
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.
October 22, 2014 |
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.
October 8, 2014 |
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.
September 28, 2014 |
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.
July 30, 2014 |
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.
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.
July 14, 2014 |
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.
July 4, 2014 |
Two tour buses, one for the crew of the rock band Styx and the other for the band Foreigner's crew, caught fire Wednesday afternoon in a Philadelphia bus lot. No injuries were reported in the blaze on the 100 block of Callowhill Street. The cause was under investigation. The Styx bus caught fire first, which in turn caused the Foreigner bus to catch fire, Styx publicist Amanda Cagan said in an e-mail. Chief Peter Crespo of the Philadelphia Fire Department said the blaze was reported at 12:24 p.m. and fire trucks arrived on the scene five minutes later.
May 16, 2014 |
The Philadelphia Fire Department on Wednesday unveiled its newest piece of training equipment: a mobile apparatus with stairs and windows that will allow firefighters to practice escaping from harm's way. The Survivability Mobile Training Unit, which officials said costs $170,000 and was paid for with grant money, is expected to save the city money. "It reduces cost for time and travel," Mayor Nutter told reporters during a news conference at the National Constitution Center. Firefighters normally have to travel to the Fire Academy in the Northeast for fire escape training, Nutter said.
March 27, 2014 |
THE PHILADELPHIA Civil Service Commission today will hear a pitch on how the Nutter administration plans to make staffing changes to ambulance runs - but not without resistance from the union that represents the city's firefighters and paramedics. Nutter is seeking approval from the Civil Service Commission to allow the Fire Department to implement a new deployment plan for 9-1-1 calls - one that replaces the two paramedics who are dispatched with one paramedic and one EMT. Paramedics receive more in-depth training than their EMT counterparts.