Heartbreaking news from the city of Philadelphia today. A fire that engulfed a rowhouse took the lives of two young children and injured several others.
According to fire officials, the closest fire station had been closed due to budget cuts, forcing a crew from farther away to respond. Now the local media are asking if the extra distance had anything to do with the deaths.
CBS Philly has the grim details:
A 7-year-old and a 9-year-old were pulled from the row home on the 100 block of Sparks Street once firefighters were able to knock down the flames.
The engine that would have been first on the scene, Engine 61, was browned-out, or closed for the day, as part of the city’s cost-cutting measures.
Fire Department Lt. Mike Grant said, “Engine 51 took over for them, they got here in good order.”
On the other hand, Mike Kane, with Philadelphia Firefighters Union Local 22, says Engine 61 could have been on the scene in half the time.
How did fire stations end up on the budget chopping block? Maybe it had something do with the city’s priorities:
- 50 million for parks and recreation
- 128 million for public health
- 480 million for city employee pensions
- 32 million for libraries
- 2 million for the city’s art museum
Prayers and sympathy go to the family as they sift through the rubble of their home tonight. I absolutely do not believe in using a child’s death to score political points, so by no means will I try to pin this on any party. Besides, even reliably red states like Indiana are suffering from budget collapses these days.
But it really makes you wonder when the American people will get serious about understanding our financial crisis.