Officials are investigating what caused a medic unit to catch fire in an Old City fire station this morning, heavily damaging the ambulance and fire house.
A medic parked in the bay of the firehouse at 4th and Arch streets caught on fire shortly before 11:40 a.m. Though the blaze resulted in heavy smoke and fire, it was put under control quickly, officials said, and there were no injuries.
The interior of the firehouse also sustained damage, leaving the station’s overhead doors inoperable, he said.
The station will be out of service for the time being.
D/C-2 requested the dwelling evacuated. Command special called two additional engines and one ladder above the box. Fire extended to the exposure. One firefighter was transported to the hospital with an unknown injury.
A building in downtown Philadelphia has collapsed, crushing a nearby structure and killing one person. Authorities have rescued 13 people and are digging to see if anyone else remains trapped beneath the rubble.
“I was parked on 21st just heading to Market Street, next thing you know it felt like an earthquake,” said Bernie Ditomo, a truck driver with Belfi Brothers. “I said, ‘What the hell is going on?’ My truck is totaled. I am a little dusty and dirty, but I’m alright. I am one of the lucky ones.”
The collapse at 2140 Market Street happened around 10:40 a.m. when a four-story building came down on top of a two-story building, which housed a Salvation Army Thrift Store. Early reports from Philadelphia Police indicate that the collapse may have been the result of an industrial accident, as construction crews were working on the nearby structure.
“This is a delicate and dangerous operation,” Mayor Michael Nutter said of the rescue and recovery effort during a press conference from the scene. “We did not know and do not know how many people were actually in that store when the wall collapsed.”
After the initial rescues, crews were communicating with two people who remained trapped in the debris and were working to remove them. At one point, rescuers asked media outlets to pull back their helicopters to allow them to better detect sounds from beneath the rubble.
Two buildings collapsed in a busy commercial strip of Center City Philadelphia this morning leaving at least 13 people injured and two reported killed.
What appeared to be a body bag was pulled from the destroyed Salvation Army store at 22nd and Market streets and a priest was at the scene shortly before 2 p.m.. An Inquirer reporter at the scene said a law enforcement source has confirmed two dead, but officials have not confirmed either fatality.
Officials at a 2:30 p.m. press conference said a search-and-rescue operation will remain active for at least the next 12 to 24 hours and the exact number of people who were inside the thift store when it was destroyed remains unknown. As of 4 p.m., officials gave no update on whether anyone remained trapped. Cadaver dogs were at the scene in the afternoon to aid in the search.
Authorities say three people suffered minor injuries when a small plane crashed into the living room of an apartment in Herndon.
Capt. Willie Bailey with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue says the plane was headed from the Philadelphia area to Manassas Regional Airport early Friday when it ran out of fuel and crashed.Officials say three people – two in the apartment and one in the Cessna 177B – had minor injuries.The Red Cross is helping nine adults, seven children and three pets who had to leave the building.
The two-passenger plane crashed into a three-story apartment building in the 2200 block of Astoria Circle at around 12:30 Friday morning, authorities say.
The two people in the plane and one person in the building were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.Nine adults, seven children and three pets were evacuated from the building.Sources say that the plane was on its way to Manassas airport from Philadelphia and ran out of fuel. The Cessna tried to land in Dulles, but did not make it and crashed into the apartment building.When the plane crashed into one of the apartment buildings, the pilot stumbled out of the plane and told one of the residents, “I think we hit your apartment.”About 20 people have been evacuated from the building, while cranes are beginning the long process of stabilizing the structure and removing the lodged plane.
Sorry for the title of this video shot yesterday by kevin bac who says he was at church when he smelled smoke. The fire was in the unit block of West Seymour Street. According to PhillyFireNews.com, the fire was reported at 3:55 PM.
A was reported fire yesterday afternoon at a warehouse at 2nd Street and Wharton Street in Philadelphia that was rented by one of Philadelphia’s Mummers organizations. The fire went to four-alarms The video above is from Rudy Thomas and the video immediately below is from phillyfirenews and includes the collapse of one of the walls of the structure. The third video also shows a collapse.
B/C-1 had heavy fire in the rear of a two story building, 60×100. Companies had trouble gaining access to the building. Second alarm struck and all companies to evacuate the building. Command placed all hand service with heaviest water lines. Requested the third alarm struck. One civilian was transported to the hospital with smoke inhalation. The fourth alarm was requested, had extension into an exposure.
A fire in South Philadelphia that started in a warehouse used to store cars caused heavy damage to a nearby warehouse used to store equipment for a successful Mummers group, destroyed a row home and left other row homes with smoke and water damage.
The four-alarm blaze began at 1301 South 2nd St. around 2:30 p.m. Officials say an elderly woman who lived in the row home that was destroyed was injured in the blaze and remained in stable condition Monday night.
The fire broke out near a warehouse that houses props and equipment used by the Fralinger String Band, a decorated Mummers group. The fire spread quickly to the warehouse and caused extensive damage to nearby homes.
A huge warehouse fire that erupted Monday might have destroyed elaborate props slated for use in the city’s annual New Year’s Day parade, event participants said.
Members of the Fralinger String Band said they were waiting to survey the damage from the blaze in a largely residential area of south Philadelphia. Firefighters were still pouring water on the building several hours after the first flames were reported, Fralinger Chairman Steve Coper said.
Several explosions were reported at the three-story industrial garage, fire department Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said. It took more than 100 firefighters almost four hours to get the blaze controlled.
James Plagge video for phillyfirenews of Philadelphia Fire Department Engine 53 pulling up to an ATM fire in the 1900 block of S. Delaware Avenue on Sunday. Reported minor extension into the bank. More at PhillyFireNews.com.
Engine-29 arrived on scene with heavy fire showing from a three story vacant factory, placed all hands in service. B/C-4 arrived and requested the second struck. All companies in service with heaviest water lines. Command reported an exposure problem and requested the third alarm. Deputy 1 requested the 4th alarm struck. S/C 2 additonal ladders and Squrt 43 above the 4th Alarm. 1 Firefighter was transported the the hospital in serious condition.
Philly FF Dan Crawford, an 18 yr vet from Rescue 1 is stable now after getting seriously injured in this mornings 4 alarm fire. He fractured L -2,3,4 in his back following a fall of over 10 ft from apparatus. Naturally, he will be recovering for a while. Firefighters brought the fire under control in 1 hour 36 minutes. The four-alarm fire destroyed a vacant warehouse at Front Street and Girard Avenue. The fire broke out in the 75-feet by 75-feet, four-story building around 0230 hours and escalated to four alarms within an hour. The fire was declared under control at 4:15 a.m. Its cause is under investigation. We wish him a rapid and successful recovery.
At the time we posted the video above it was brought to our attention that the Paoli Fire Company had removed a press release from its website earlier today saying a much talked about image of one of its firefighters on live TV at yesterday’s Independence Day parade in Philadelphia was not an obscene gesture (you can read the initial press release here). Now the president and chief have issued a special statement saying that it was, in fact, an obscene gesture and the firefighter involved has been suspended. Here’s the statement:
Okay folks. Here it is. You be the judge on this one. The Paoli Fire Company in Pennsylvania regrets that this was perceived as a firefighter flipping the bird to a live television camera during yesterday’s Independence Day parade in Philadelphia (read complete statement). On Facebook many have been very vocal that this was intentional. I will let the video speak for itself.
Note that the Paoli Fire Company has removed the earlier press release from its website.
Pennsylvania’s Paoli Fire Company confirmed what crowd sourcing on Facebook yesterday afternoon already made public, that a firefighter with his hand out the window of a fire engine during the Philadelphia Independence Day Parade was one of its members. In a press release on the Paoli Fire Company website (below) the case is made that this image is just of A finger protruding from the firefighter’s hand on live TV and not THE finger.
A lot of people on Facebook feel otherwise about the still image. One STATter911.com reader claims that the entire video had been posted at some point yesterday but has since been taken down. We didn’t see it, but it seems to me the video, if available, might provide some clarity.
This image began making the rounds on Facebook yesterday afternoon sparking a lot of commentary. STATter911.com has also been getting emails about it. We are told it’s a still image from WPVI-TV’s live coverage of the Philadelphia Independence Day parade.
The large majority of the comments on Facebook are from people outraged and disgusted by what appears to be a firefighter making an obscene gesture to the camera.
I am not sure who, from just viewing the still image, identified the fire company involved. I have chosen to block out the department’s name for now and to obscure the firefighter’s face (he’s looking right into the camera) until we learn more. It would be nice to have the ability to see the whole clip to give it context and get some official word about whose rig is.
But I and a lot others sure have found the image interesting.
Judge Garrett Page in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania wasn’t happy that 55-year-old Donald Pierce of Philadelphia didn’t think the barricades blocking a flooded road in the Willow Grove area during Tropical Storm Lee weren’t for him. After Pierce drove around that silly obstruction in the road he soon needed help. Of course it was up to firefighters to save his butt. Which they did.
But a police officer who said he saw Pierce drive around the barriers in his red minivan charged the man with three counts of recklessly endangering others and reckless driving. The three counts were one each for the three firefighters who risked their lives in an attempt make sure Pierce walked away from the mess he created for himself.
According to Margaret Gibbons at PhillyBurbs.com, as part of an agreement, Donald Pierce entered a guilty plea to a charge of disorderly conduct. Judge Page yesterday fined Pierce $300 and ordered him to make a $1000 donation to the Willow Grove Fire Company and send letters of apology to the three firefighters who tried to reach him.
Here’s a description of the rescue from PhillyBurbs.com:
The vehicle drove into the flooded roadway and got about halfway through the swift moving flood waters when it became disabled. The force of the water pushed the van to the side of the road and up against a guardrail.
Three Willow Grove firefighters, trained in water rescues, entered the flooded roadway to rescue the driver but, after getting about halfway to the van and in water up to their hips, had to abandon that attempt because they were in danger of being swept downstream because of the swift flowing floodwaters.
A second attempt, using an Enterprise Fire Co. ladder truck, was successful.
The firefighter’s union local 22 claims since last July, all 6 rank and file firefighters who suffered facial or neck burns were shipped off to other departments. They say it's punishment to discourage other firefighters from reporting dangerous injuries.
Fire commissioner Lloyd Ayres was not available to go on camera for this story but tells over the phone the department does not have a policy to transfer injured firefighters. He also tells us firefighters can request a transfer back to their original station.
From KYW-TV, firefighters are upset over a Philadelphia Fire Department policy about being burned on the job. The union says heroes are being punished instead of praised. The fire commissioner says it's about safety.
The link above has audio from a fire just before 6:00 this morning at 1618 N. 20th Street in North Philadelphia. You will hear the evacuation ordered at 5:28 in the audio, followed by the call for additional medic units for injured firefighters.
According to Philadelphia Fire Deputy Chief Michael Wahl, the call for the house fire came in at 5:58 a.m. at 1618 North 20th Street. Upon arrival initial reports were of heavy smoke and a couple trapped inside.
Upon entering the home, firefighters rescued two people while two others escaped on their own. Three women and one child were taken to Hahnemann hospital for treatment and were in stable condition.
Three firefighters were injured while rescuing the trapped victims. One member with first and second degree burns to his arms. Two other firefighters were transported with minor injuries. Four civilians were also transported with smoke inhalation.
From the AP:
Fire officials say a blaze in a north Philadelphia row home injured seven people, including three firefighters, one critically.
Authorities say the fire in the three-story building was reported just before 6 a.m. Sunday. Arriving crews have reported heavy black smoke pouring from the third floor. Firefighters battled the flames for about an hour.
One firefighter has been taken to a hospital burn unit in critical but stable condition. Two other firefighters are reported to be in stable condition.
Firefighters helped two people from the building while two others escaped on their own. All four had minor injuries that were treated at a hospital.
At 10:23AM, box 1228 was transmitted for a house fire at 32 Summit Street (btwn Germantown & Stenton Avenues). On arrival, crews found a 2-1/2 story 50×50 detached garage fully-involved behind a dwelling.
Battalion 9 filled-out the box on arrival and placed 3 and 3 in-service. The upper floor of the garage collapsed into the first-floor. The fire was place under control around 11:15AM.
Watch at 1:57 of the video – a wall collapses just missing a firefighter.
A veteran Philadelphia Fire Department battalion chief has been accused of "conduct unbecoming' by the fire commissioner. The charges against John Grillone stem from a video posted to YouTube that firefighter Charles Tizol shot inside the quarters of Engine 71 on Cottman Avenue in 2009. Tizol has already been suspended without pay for four weeks and Chief Grillone had a disciplinary hearing yesterday.
So what is so bad about the video? According to KYW-TV the video shows Chief Grillone singing one of his favorite songs, the National Anthem and interacting with the firefighters. Here's more:
Grillone, a 38-year veteran, is seen singing, eating cookies and talking to co-workers in the video. There was some foul language used as well, but Grillone’s attorney, Alice Ballard, maintains the men were just simply having good clean fun.
Grillone says at the time, he was just trying to boost morale after the deaths of three firefighters.
The disciplinary hearing panel will make a recommendation to the commissioner in the coming days. A spokesman from the commissioner’s office said the fire department has no comment. As of right now, the fire department doesn’t have a social media posting policy in place.
"The Philadelphia Fire Department has lost a son," Ayers said. "As you may imagine, this is devastating to everybody."
Ayers would not say whether foul play is suspected. Slivinski was not on duty at the time of his death, he said.
Police were not immediately available to comment on the case.
Ayers, who was originally critical of Slivinski and IAFF Local 22 President Bill Gault for doing the photo shoot without approval from the commissioner's office, made a rare appearance at the trial board for Slivinski and recommended he be allowed to return to Rescue 1 with just an oral reprimand.
There are currently no further details on Firefighter Slivinski's death.
Our short local nightmare is over. Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers made his point that Firefighter Jack Slavinski violated department policy when he posed shirtless for a charity calendar. But in the end, the commissioner sent Firefighter Slavinski back to Rescue 1 with only an oral reprimand. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer this happened yesterday when Commissioner Ayers made a rare appearance at Slavinski's trial board hearing.
A spokesman for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter reiterated Ayers' previous position that the department is in the safety business and not the beefcake business. Here is an excerpt from Robert Moran's article:
Slavinski appeared at a hearing Tuesday and was facing three disciplinary charges, said union official Mike Kane.
In a surprise move, Ayers appeared at the hearing and agreed to simply give Slavinski an oral reprimand and reassign him back to Rescue 1.
Kane said he had participated in more than 50 such hearings and "it was the first time the commissioner walked into the room and talked to anybody."
Firefighter Slavinski is one of a dozen firefighters across the country who were asked to be part of the charity calendar. He posed for photographer Katherine Kostreva in front of a well known Philly fountain. The union had help set up the shoot and expected the city's portion of the money raised to go to the survivors of fallen firefighters. IAFF Local 22 president Bill Gault confirmed for reporters they failed to run the shoot by the commissioner's office.
Last week Commissioner Ayers told Philadelphia Daily News reporter David Gambacorta, "We get letters from children. They look up to us. We cannot allow them to be showing nipples in photographs of Philadelphia firefighters."
Ayers is catching some grief today about this even becoming an issue from Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky who cites what she calls a double standard by the commissioner. Polaneczky pointed to a YouTube video of Ayers (below), in uniform, providing a testimonial while shopping in the Philadelphia book store Black and Nobel.
Polanecsky believes that the store's home page might be more offensive to some than exposed nipples.
"I went to the store to get black literature and the guy stuck a camera in my face to say things about the store, but I didn't know he was going to put it on YouTube," Ayers said defensively. "I don't see how this issue ties in to the calendar controversy."
Here's how it ties in:
The commissioner did something well-intentioned that he never expected would be taken the wrong way. Just as Slivinski did something well-intentioned that he never expected would be taken the wrong way.
Ayers' first response should've been to extend to a decent, hardworking underling the same compassion he affords himself.
The mayor's spokesman told reporters the city is considering legal action to keep Slavinski's photo out of the calendar.
The picture above has Firefighter Jack Slivinski in a bit of trouble with Philadelphia Fire Department Commissioner Lloyd Ayers. Commissioner Ayers told Philadelphia Daily News reporter David Gambacorta, "We get letters from children. They look up to us. We cannot allow them to be showing nipples in photographs of Philadelphia firefighters."
According to the article, Firefighter Slivinski has been removed from his assignment to Engine 1 and is losing OT money while his role in a charity calendar is being investigated. New York photographer Katherine Kostreva came to Philly last week just to shoot Slivinski in front of the Logan Circle fountain. He is one of a dozen firefighters from around the country who are posing for this charity calendar. Bill Gault, who is president of IAFF Local 22, wanted Philadelphia's share to go to spouses of local firefighters.
The commissioner said he had good reason to be fuming at Slivinski and Local 22.
For one thing, Ayers said, the department has long been opposed to its members posing for "beefcake calendars."
"We don't sell sex, we sell safety.," Ayers said. "That's been our mantra for the longest time."
The article says the policy of the department is permission must be granted by supervisors before posing for outside publications. Gault admits he screwed up by not running it by Ayers, but says everyone's intentions were good ones. Photographer Kostreva agrees and added, "I think the commissioner is just overreacting."
Last month the U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia announced that four private ambulance companies in the Philly area had been indicted on fraud charges. They are accused of billing Medicare for carrying patients who did not need an ambulance for transport. It turns out, at the same time, WTFX-TV’s Jeff Cole had been investigating the ambulance companies since 2009. The station says the U.S. Attorney requested the TV reports to be put on hold so as not to jeopardize the federal investigation. Part 1 of the stations two-part series has now aired. Click above to watch it.
Illinois house fire: This is from the photographer for the Dwight Fire Department showing a fire Saturday morning.
Ego kills: I have seen this time and time again. A boss with a high profile job and an over-sized ego has a melt down when the news media does a story that is less than positive about the boss or the organization he or she runs. I am pretty certain though, that I’ve never seen one this bad. Of course I am talking, not about a fire chief, but the man who owns the Washington Redskins. Dan Snyder is a great case study on how making PR decisions based on hurt feelings will almost always make things worse. Click here as I take you inside the world of the most hated man in the Nation’s Capital. The trip should provide some valuable lessons.
Automatic aide debate: There is a lively one going on over an article we posted from the Colorado where the closest fire company was not sent to a woman trapped by fire in the basement of her home. Check out the coverage and the comments.
Big Ikea burns in Israel & someone quickly posts before video to go with the after video: Over the weekend a 21,500 square foot Ikea in Netanya was destroyed by fire. Interesting that, either just before or during the early stages of the hours long fire someone posted video to YouTube of a couple of locations inside the same store. Here’s our coverage.
New rules: A house fire where firefighters couldn’t find a woman talking to 911 that occurred a year ago brought new training requirements for firefighter in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. One volunteer chief says he is resigning after decades because the new rules discount his experience and that he would be unable to do the 1000 hours required. Click here.
Chiefs to meet and Dave is invited: A reminder that the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Expo & Symposium from the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association is being held February 24-27 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. They are even going to let me speak at the Sunday morning breakfast gathering. Click here for the details and to register.
Smithsonian fire in DC: (More below) WTOP Radio has the picture this morning of the plume rising above Constitution Avenue, Northwest. It turns out to be a fire in a cooling tower for the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. Click here for more.
Let’s get away from it all: That’s what a lot of firefighters in the State of New York did this week. It was the annual winter games on a ski slope. Click here to watch the fun.
Camden, NJ restores some positions, along with reports of possible Philly mutual aid: A property tax levy is expected to allow Camden to rehire 13 of 67 firefighters recently let go. Here’s more. At the same time, the site First In, run by a Philadelphia fire captain, reports that Philadelphia firefighters could be going across the bridge into Camden on mutual aid. The captain isn’t pleased. Click here.
Rio fire has carnival impact: In Rio de Janeiro’s Samba City a fire today has destroyed at least four warehouses where floats and costumes are made for Rio’s carnival celebration. A carnival museum and a school were also destroyed. Read more. Also, more from Firegeezer.
More from Smithsonian fire: It is just a small, detached mechanical building, but the smoke plume attracted a lot of attention this morning in the Nation’s Capital. One reason is that it is in the federal area downtown. The little building is part of the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. Here are the details. Also, more pictures from the fire at WUSA9.com.
Newsworking.org’s Bill Rohr sent along this video he took yesterday evening at 4800 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. Here’s Bill’s account:
At 14:35 hours, Box 2837 was transmitted for the apartment building at 4800 Walnut Street. On arrival, crews found heavy smoke in the hallways on the 3rd and 4th floor.
Due to the massive size of the comples, crews had trouble finding the seat of the fire. When they finally did, the fire was in the walls extending vertically to the cockloft.
A second alarm was transmitted about an hour into the call. With the rapid extension of the fire in the cockloft, the 3rd and 4th alarms were transmitted. As the fire spread to the west wing and the east wing, the 5th alarm was transmitted.
In all, over 160 firefighters and more than 50 pieced of equipment battled the blaze in freezing temperatures. 89 of the 90 apartments were occupied. About 100 residents were displace by the fire.
It took over five hours to contain the blaze. Under Control was transmitted at 19:25, but firefighters were far from finished.
Two five-alarm fires in as many days in Philly. Sunday’s fire was at a school at 5151 Warren Street (scroll down). We start with today’s fire in a large, four-story apartment building at 4800 block Walnut Street.
B/C-7 reported smoke showing from a four story apartment building, W Shape building. Placed 2&2 in service. D/C-1 reported fire third floor extending to the fourth floor. Special called additional 2&2 above the box. Companies to assist in evacuation of the building. Command then struck the second alarm.
Command reported fire through the roof, third alarm struck. Master stream placed in service. D/C-1 then requested the fourth alarm struck heavy fire through the roof of the building. The fifth alarm was struck at 4:37 pm.
Deputy Chief Willy Williams says light smoke was reported in the four-story building at 4800 Walnut Street at 2:35 p.m. Monday. He says the response had reached a third alarm about an hour later and a fourth alarm was declared at 4 p.m.
Williams says the fire had spread to the roof area, and fire crew were attacking the flames from the outside.
But he says crews have gone through the building getting residents to safety, and there are no reports of injuries.
Engine 16 was dispatched for an alarm system. Engine-16 arrived on scene with fire in the basement of a three story school, 50×75, an placed all hands in service. D/C-1 reported heavy fire extending through out the building. Requested the second alarm struck and third alarms struck. All companies went in service with heaviest water lines. Fire extended to an exposure in the rear. Fourth Alarm struck. The fifth alarm was eventually struck by command.
A five-alarm fire that raged for more than an hour and a half early Sunday caused “substantial” damage to the 400-student Global Leadership Academy in West Philadelphia, Deputy Fire Chief Michael Wahl reported.
The cause of the fire, which started in the basement of the three-story building at 5151 Warren St., near 52d Street and Lancaster Avenue, is under investigation, Wahl said.