By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A fire two months ago at a historic fire station in the Old City section of Philadelphia prompted a City Council hearing today on the poor condition of fire department vehicles.

The fire broke out September 27th at the Old City firehouse at 4th and Arch Streets, starting in the engine compartment of an ambulance parked inside the station garage (see related story).

City Council member Jim Kenney noted today that the condition of the fire department’s fleet was deemed unsafe in 2008 when Mayor Nutter first took office, adding that it has not improved.

Kenney questioned the city’s fleet manager, Christopher Cocci (in top photo).

(Kenney:)  “Is that an accurate statement that it’s about the same as it was in 2008?”

(Cocci:)  “That’s correct.

(Kenney:)  “But the equipment is older now.

(Cocci:)  “That’s correct.

Cocci said the fire in the Old City medic unit was caused by worn insulation on a power feed to the chassis and medic module, wiring that is not easily visible during safety inspections.

But the firefighters’ union chief, Joe Schulle, testified that the poor condition of the department’s fleet endangers the lives of firefighters and the public.

“This is not a political statement. It is not posturing. It is not rhetoric. We are pointing out a serious problem with this fleet that the city is simply unwilling to address,” Schulle said.

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