As The Smoke Clears In Kensington, The City Reflects

 

Photo: Peter Woodall

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.

  • 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.”
  • 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.

Send a message!



3 Comments


  1. Steve Keeley needs to read Hidden City Philadelphia more.

  2. Wow, the Daily News article says they owe $278,610 for this building at 7th & Market – http://g.co/maps/aetq7

    These people should be sued for every pathetic penny they’re worth. The city needs to get real about going after these tax delinquents.

  3. It amazes me how this city constantly cries about how “broke” it is. They [Philadelphia] lack the funds for much needed projects and repairs, but it’s aggressiveness to recover dead-beat tax payers is non-existent. I read the article, “Passing the Buck” (http://hiddencityphila.org/2012/03/passing-the-buck/) which was published on March 30th. On April 9th this building goes up in flames, interesting. I’m sure the people who live in that neighborhood had a feeling this would happen. Seems to happen often when community groups and the city start pushing to get results. The city should have taken over that building long ago. If the average resident owed that kind of money in taxes and fines it would have been a swift an easy process through the courts. Now, with two fire fighters dead, a building in ruins, and neighboring homes damaged, the city marches forward with a criminal investigation into the cause of the fire. A city that needs money, does nothing to collect, now awakens to administer legal action at the cost of two dead fire fighters. The city is just as guilty as the owners of that building.

Recent Posts
Historical Commission To Consider Protecting Blue Horizon Exterior

Historical Commission To Consider Protecting Blue Horizon Exterior

February 27, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Developers still looking for funds for historic boxing venue’s reuse, the benefits of “loose” playgrounds, construction underway for W Hotel, and arts studio to open on S. 11th Street > more

Seeing Between The Ci-Lines: St. Andrew's Chapel Awakened With Art And Geometry

Seeing Between The Ci-Lines: St. Andrew’s Chapel Awakened With Art And Geometry

February 27, 2015  |  Last Light

Temporary art installation Ci-Lines opens this Saturday inside the ornate, vacant St. Andrew's Chapel on Spruce Street in West Philly. We spoke with the project's artist Aaron Asis about community engagement, vacant and abandoned site activation, and urban preservation > more

Mayor’s Office Awards $60K For Performances In Public Spaces Program

Mayor’s Office Awards $60K For Performances In Public Spaces Program

February 26, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Pilot program will bring the arts to 23 public spaces throughout the city, Grays Ferry park to be renovated, Nebinger to install new gateway, microgrants for Newbold, and stained-glass on the Avenue of the Arts > more

Committee Approves 3D Signage For Center City

Committee Approves 3D Signage For Center City

February 25, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Council counters Planning Commission’s recommendation, a petition to save and redevelop the Germantown YWCA, connecting communities in West and North Philly, and more cultural grants this year > more

Under Inspection: Five Residential Projects Currently Breaking Ground

Under Inspection: Five Residential Projects Currently Breaking Ground

February 25, 2015  |  Vantage

Boon times for our evolving skyline as large-scale construction projects pop up all over the city, but how will the designs hold up when the buildings are complete? Hidden City contributor and urbanist inspector Stephen Stofka puts an eye on five big residential projects about to begin > more

Close Call For Bromley Carpet Factory After 3-Alarm Fire In Neighboring Building

Close Call For Bromley Carpet Factory After 3-Alarm Fire In Neighboring Building

February 24, 2015  |  News

Crisis averted for Bromley Carpet Factory in Kensington after 3-alarm fire breaks out along Front Street. > more