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Mayor Nutter, Union Squabble Over Cause Of Spike In 2010 Fire Deaths

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fire deaths in Philadelphia rose slightly last year, however the Nutter administration and the firefighters union are squabbling over the cause of the increase.

33 people were killed in fires in 2010, compared with a record low 30 the year before. And the number of fire related injuries last year dipped from 237 to 201. Speaking on KYW’s “Ask The Mayor” Wedensday morning, Michael Nutter attributed the slight increase to smoke detectors.

“You will find in the overwhelming majority of fire deaths and most likely the injuries as well, comes as a result of either lack of smoke detectors at all, lack of working smoke detectors.”

The Mayor’s assessment drew an angry rebuttal from Philadelphia Firefighters Union Local 22 President Bill Gault.

“Smoke detectors are just an aid, they don’t save lives. The professional fire department saves lives. We’ve been saying all along that the brownouts and closures are dangerous. They did it without a study, fire deaths went up.”

Fire-related injuries went down in 2010 from 237 to 201. Gault says morale among firefighters is at an all-time low because of the extra workload created by the rolling brownouts. Nutter says the policy will be reevaluated when the fiscal year ends.

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio

  • behrle ida

    well it is now almost june and still no response from nutter since i first wrote in nov. 2010 guess he does not want to or doesnt no how to help my neighborhood

  • ida

    in nov i asked the mayor for help on ask the mayor kyw and as of today i have had no response and the problem is getting worse whats up

  • nelson

    Smoke detectors don’t save lives. The professional fire department saves lives. Thanks Bill! I’ll stop replacing the batteries in my smoke detectors now. Ill even help spread the word.

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  • Concerned Citizen

    Dave, the city has the money, and will spend it as it sees fit, regardless of safety. In 2008, 7 fire companies were closed, saving the city $10M a year – money the city “just doesn’t have.” These cuts were announced in Oct. ’07; in Nov. ’07, the city announced a new plan for “beautification” of parts of West Philly – at a cost of $13M. The real irony is the parts needing “beautification” were empty lots resulting from fire losses.

  • george

    only one question… when we need layoffs in philadelphia, why doesn’t anyone ever talk about closing some of the “ROW” offices… and eliminating the no show and no work jobs that go with them… this could save the city so much money…

  • Roganne Lapenna

    The change that was made in the making of cigarettes is now a fire hazard. Burn holes in my cloths & rugs. Because smoking is such a big health issue, no one will look at how hazardous a lite cigarette can be NOW …..because FDA changed a cigarette to fire proof paper. It wasn’t a lite cigarette that was the problem, it’s the jerk smoking it. Now FDA has made a lite cigarette a fire problem.

    • Dave

      Fire proof paper in a cigarette? Really??? Then how does a cigarette burn down? It’s not just the tobacco burning, idiot. You have no clue. Judging by your poor grammar and spelling, it sounds like you’ve been smoking something…and what does your posting have to do with the original story anyway???

  • Linda D Bryant

    If the Nutman had not closed several Fire Stations, maybe the lives that were
    lost could have been saved.

    The city cannot expect the FIre Department to do more with less staff,
    resources, etc.

    The Mayor chose to save money, rather than SAVE LIVES!!!!!!

    • Dave

      You can’t spend money that you don’t have. Taxpayers don’t want an increase so this is what you get. Cities all over the country are making cut-backs to fire departments, police, etc. If you don’t like it, tell your congressman to stop funding unnecessary programs and use your tax dollars in a better way!!!

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