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UPDATED – Residents Riot Outside Firehouse, Threaten Firefighters After SW Multiple Fatal Fire

Residents in South Philadelphia residents feel firefighters took to much time to respond to multiple alarm fire that killed four kids early Saturday morning.

The Instagram video from 6ABC reporter Kenneth Moton shows angry residents yelling and protesting in front of Pipeline-40 and Ladder-4’s firehouse. Police have set up a line to prevent the people from getting into the firehouse. A city wide assist was requested by police bringing cops from all over the city to the scene.

Additional coverage by

Threats have been made to firefighters in the wake a blaze that claimed the lives of four young children Southwest Philadelphia.

The threats come amid claims that somehow the Fire Department did not respond fast enough. However, despite some lag time because the initial report had been for a rubbish fire, the first unit was on the scene within three minutes.

Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer says those claims are untrue and unfair.

“Ladder was first there and Engine was a minute behind,” Commissioner Sawyer said.

Below are two separate audio files of the fire. The first one (Youtube) has been edited and is not real time. However, it does contain the initial dispatch of Engine-68 for a trash fire. The second audio file (Soundcloud) has not been edited for time and is more real time. It does not contain the initial trash fire dispatch.

In an article by The Inquirer

Southwest Philadelphia was initially identified as a “rubbish fire” – a classification that affected how quickly help arrived, according to fire department records and officials.

Fire dispatch records obtained by The Inquirer show the department spent crucial minutes deploying resources as if responders were headed to a trash fire – and not a fast-moving blaze that had begun to consume several houses, including the one in which seven children were trapped.

As a result, firefighters assigned to a firehouse only 225 yards from the deadly blaze, at 6518 Gesner Street, were not dispatched for about three minutes after the 911 call was received early Saturday, according to the fire department’s communications dispatch sheet.

Records show the first call came in to 911 just before 2:45 a.m. A neighbor, Jeff Boone, said in an interview that he called 911 after seeing that a couch was on fire on the porch.

Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said he did not know why the fire had originally been deemed less serious than it was.

“For whatever reason the information they received made them believe it was a rubbish fire,” he said. “As more calls came in, they upgraded it.”

He said wildly incorrect rumors had spread along the block and through the neighborhood that 30 minutes passed before fire engines with water were on scene.

Records show it took 43 seconds from the first call, to be transferred to a dispatcher. The dispatcher then sent Engine-68 from several miles away. At 02:48 the call was upgraded to a full box assignment. Ladder-4 arrived at 02:50 according to fire department records. However, if you listen the audio file you can hear Ladder-4 call dispatchers twice during the 56 second dispatch. The first 25 seconds the second time at 50 seconds after the alert tone. The dispatcher even emphasizes the word “Box” when Ladder-4 calls. Ladder-4 arrived on scene a half of a minute after the initial alert tone. It is likely the extremely busy dispatcher did not enter Ladder-4 arrival time into the computer until after he was done dispatching the call.

Once firefighters were alerted to the call the response was very quick.

Comments - Add Yours

  • BigWhiteDog

    Seconds seem like hours…

  • Pingback: Tension in Philly: Riot police break up protest at firehouse after 4 children die in weekend fire | Statter911()

  • trueequalrights

    Way to go black people. How about everyone admit it’s the parents fault. Letting children play with fireworks while unsupervised isn’t the best idea. Stupid apes.

    • whsbuss

      Come on, this is not the way to address the grief the families and residents feel. PFD did the best they could. Even if E40 was in station, with all the fire showing at arrival, it may still have resulted in the 4 fatals.

      • yard


    • Napalm Death

      Your racism is disgusting. I hope you are not in any way involved with PFD.

    • yard

      Trueequalrights, it’s not about color, it’s about ignorance. For instance, based on your comments, your’re ignorant and most likely white. I however, don’t believe that makes all white people stupid and ignorant. By the way, I support the fire department. It was a tragic incident in which precious babies perished…Also, in your ignorant mind, do you think the black firefighters are stupid apes too?….If yes, then you or someone you care about could possibly be rescued by a stupid ape?……WAKE UP!!!!!!

      • trueequalrights

        Nope. I don’t think black firefighters are stupid apes. I’m guessing you’re not from Philly. Southwest Philly should be bombed. They want to turn the blame on the PFD because they don’t want to look bad. Also in Southwest Philly a 4 year old boy just fell out of a window. Ni$%Rs need to know where there kids are and be in their lives. And I call more white people NI&#^R than blacks, so I don’t want to hear it. White guilt can’t be placed on me. Go some whhere else with that BS. I’m the minority in the city.

  • Christopher Boyer

    Why don’t those people join the fire company and see how easy it .

  • Pingback: Timeline of controversial fatal Philly fire raises a question about dispatch procedures & a deputy mayor's comments | Statter911()

  • Joe W

    Ignorance on Display: All Around… from the Demonstrators to the Commentators
    It’s an Absolute Absurdity and Travesty that the ‘Neighbors’ would target the Firehouse for their Rage & Grief.
    Maybe in some 3rd World Country it makes sense to besiege a Fire Station to protest a perceived Failure … but here in More Civilized Societies, we understand that interfering with the Work of Firefighters and Police Officers helps No One.

  • Pingback: Philly Firefighter Tell Their Story About Multi-Fatal Fire with Class |

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