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Firefighter Union Official Questions ‘Brownout’ Role In Fatal Olney Fire

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Olney Fire
Jim Melwert Jim Melwert
Jim is a "morning drive" reporter for KYW Newsradio 1060, bringing...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two children were killed in a fire in the city’s Olney section Tuesday, and now an official from the firefighters’ union is questioning if Philadelphia’s cost-cutting “brownouts” of fire companies played a role.

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.

“Whether that Engine 61, being browned out, if that company was in service, they would have made a difference? Nobody can answer that, because we don’t have a crystal ball. What we can say is, maybe if they were there, they would have had a shot. Maybe them kids would have had a shot,” Kane said.

In addition to the two children who died, four other children were injured, along with four adults.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. Fire officials say there were no working smoke detectors in the home.

Reported by Jim Melwert, KYW Newsradio

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