PHILADELPHIA, PA – Local 22, the union for Philadelphia’s firefighters and paramedics, blames the recent deaths of Lt. Robert Neary and firefighter Dan Sweeney on a compilation of tactical errors. The union is calling for Commissioner Lloyd Ayers and Deputy Commissioners Ernest Hargett and John Devlin to take responsibility for those alleged errors and resign.
Philadelphia’s Public Safety Commissioner. Michael Resnick, was quick to respond: “There will be no changes to the command staff for the fire department. They have our full support, 110-percent.”
Neary and Sweeney died on April 9, putting down a massive five-alarm fire at an abandoned warehouse in Kensington. They went into an adjacent building to make sure there were no hot spots, and a wall collapsed on them, burying the victims under tons of bricks and debris.
One of the errors, according to Local 22’s Mike Bresnan, was not having enough people to adequately fight the fire.
“It was limited to five alarms because of brown-outs and cutbacks in personnel by this administration,” Bresnan said in an afternoon press conference.
The union also faults the order to send Neary, Sweeney and two other firefighters inside the adjacent furniture store. The union showcased photos they contend show firefighters way to close to a crumbling wall.
“The most egregious error that was made was not establishing a collapse zone, which is one-and-a-half times the height of the building wall,” Bresnan said.
Union President Bill Gault had this to say about the owners of the warehouse that caught fire:
“The Lichtensteins and the hundreds of other absentee landlords in this city who allow their properties to deteriorate into drug dens and fire traps for firefighters are a disgrace to society.”
From NBC10 Philadelphia.