Last night, hundreds of residents in Southwest Philadelphia protested the response time that was involved in reacting to a fire that ended up claiming the lives of 4 children. The protest ended up across the street from the fire station that is only a block away from where the fire started. The fire burned through several homes and has displaced more than 40 people. The residents have argued that a delay in service from firefighters caused the fire to spread and claim the lives of the four children. Mayor Nutter addressing the press said, “"The firefighters did their job. They're not the bad people here. It wasn't a lack of service.” He continued and said, “"I will not tolerate under any circumstances incorrect information, allegations, innuendos, or lies suggesting that members of PFD did anything less than serve admirably in their service."
Those who live in the neighborhood have told of a delayed response that began circulating in the neighborhood just hours after the fire. During the protest last night, residents were chanting “You let 4 children die” and” Liar’. The protest, which resulted in several clashes and led to a number of arrests did not calm the neighborhood only placed it more on edge.
Right now a press conference is being held by the Fire Commissioner and the Mayor of Philadelphia and a timeline has been issued regarding the events of the fire and how the 911 calls were received then handled.
Here is the response timeline, according to Commissioner Sawyer:
2:44 a.m. – “We received the first call in fire communications.”
2:46 a.m. – “The fire communications gave a verbal dispatch. The call we received was for a rubbish fire on a sofa on a porch.”
2:47 a.m. – “We received a second call reporting four houses on fire.”
2:47 a.m. – “The members of Ladder 4 were calling fire communications, letting them know that four houses were on fire and they had someone coming.”
2:49 a.m. –“Ladder 4 was on location giving their first report.”
2:51 a.m. – “Pipeline 40 showed up on location. They were previously dispatched on a car fire. They were able to make it to this fire from a car fire in less than 5 minutes.
There was also a timeline of the 911 calls. It is:
Timeline of Recording
:00 – Dispatch reports rubbish fire on 65th and Gesner Streets to Engine 68
:13 – Engine 68 announces they will respond to 65th and Gesner Street for rubbish fire
:22 – Address of fire reported as 6517 Gesner Street
:30 – Dispatch announces Engine 68, Engine 69, Squad 47, Engine 54-57, Ladder 4, Ladder 25-13, Battalion 7, Battalion 11 will respond to a dwelling fire.
1:23 – Ladder 4 announces they are at the location of the fire. Reports that three two-story row houses are fully-involved.