Leadership

Nine-Alarm Fire Threatened Philadelphia’s Center City

Issue 8 and Volume 137.

Nine-Alarm Fire Threatened Philadelphia’s Center City FIRE REPORT Pre-plan, accurate size up, and an aggressive defensive initial attack were key factors in firefighters’ ability to confine this major incident to one square block. The hazardous nature of buildings undergoing major renovations or demolition was again made evident when on May 3,1984, a 90-year-old building in Philadelphia, PA, was completely destroyed and 18 other buildings along with 63 vehicles were damaged. To bring this incident under control required the commitment of 224 firefighters and command personnel manning 38 engine companies, 6 ladder companies, and 3 rescue squads. An additional 10 engine and ladder companies handled alarms received as a result of flying brands, investigated for smoke within high-rise buildings, and responded to water flow alarms caused by fluctuations in water pressure. Nine alarms were struck, and firefighters fought the fire for 2 hours and 58 minutes before Fire Commissioner William C.…

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