Early yesterday morning, East Kensington’s Thomas Buck Hosiery was engulfed in flames. Eventually growing to a five alarm fire, the resulting structural collapse killed two firefighters: Daniel Sweeney, 25; and Lt. Robert Neary, 60. The news reports offer a glimpse of how these issues—so familiar and disheartening to the contributors and readers here at the Daily—are perceived by the city’s media as a whole. The introductory blurb from the on-site report filed by Fox29’s Steve Keeley last night reveals something of that surprise: “We never find out about the history of these old factories until they catch fire it seems and all of them eventually do it seems.” For Peter Woodall’s News piece from yesterday, covering the tragedy, click HERE.
- The Daily News’ coverage comments on the necessary blame game, now in full swing. The piece also gives an idea of the concerted effort from the factory’s neighbors to have the city deal with the dilapidated structure. The usual response? It was just too expensive for Licenses & Inspections to reseal the building at $20,000.
- FOX29’s report from last night features the Daily’s own Peter Woodall, as well the father of fallen firefighter Daniel Sweeney. “He was great firefighter,” said Sweeney. “He looked out for his guys.”
- Metro Philly reports that Mayor Michael Nutter has expressed his interest to Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison as to whether the Brooklyn-based property owners are responsible for “reckless indifference or criminal negligence.” City officials will meet with them today.
- On his blog, James McGahey, theologian and urban trekker, sees the factory’s fate—and indeed the transience of all things—in biblical terms. “All flesh,” the prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field…. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isa 40:6, 8).
- The fire of course has roused a great deal of discussion on Philadelphia Speaks. For the thread, “MASSIVE Abandoplex Fire – Thomas Buck Hosiery,” click HERE.
Later today, Nathaniel Popkin will lament the missed opportunities of the building and the area in a Soapbox, and Ryan Briggs will offer a post-mortem to his original piece from last Friday.
About the author
Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.