ThinkProgress -- After Philadelphia’s Budget Cuts Force Closure Of Nearest Fire Station, Two Children Die In Fire
All over the country, conservatives are complaining about the need to “cut government spending” at any cost, demonizing the government and its role in defending the public interest in the process. While truly taking aim at waste in government is an admirable goal, a recent story of out of Philadelphia provides a cautionary tale about why we must protect funding for certain social necessities.
As a part of Philadelphia’s cost-cutting measures, the city has been closing down certain fire stations on a rotating basis in a process of “rolling brownouts.” Since these brownouts began, city firefighters have protested the policy, saying that they would harm public safety. Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Loyd Ayers dismissed these warnings and defended the city’s austerity plans, saying that the city “will continue to respond to your call and tend to any and every emergency that may arise in an urgent and timely manner.”
Yet the firefighters were proven right when a tragedy struck earlier this week. On Tuesday, a fire broke out in a row home in the Olney section of the city. The closest fire station, which operates Engine 61, was closed that day due to the brownouts. Thus Engine 51, which was stationed further away from the site of the disaster, was dispatched to handle the situation. By the time two children were pulled from the ruins of the row home, it was too late, as both had tragically passed away.