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” (https://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.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Philadelphia Far Behind Peer Cities Says National Trust

Philadelphia Far Behind Peer Cities Says National Trust

January 19, 2018  |  News

Mayor Kenney's Historic Preservation Task Force convened last night for their seventh official meeting. Starr Herr-Cardillo reports > more

SEPTA Spruces Up The Underground With Downtown Link

SEPTA Spruces Up The Underground With Downtown Link

January 18, 2018  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us on a tour of the city's extensive pedestrian underground concourse network, soon to be rebranded by SEPTA as the "Downtown Link" > more

The Vanishing Of Northeast Village

The Vanishing Of Northeast Village

January 16, 2018  |  Vantage

David Coyne traverses bramble and broken blacktop along Roosevelt Boulevard to reveal a military housing community that was evacuated and demolished in the 1960s > more

A Field Guide To Demolition

A Field Guide To Demolition

January 12, 2018  |  Vantage

Peter Woodall spotlights specific building types facing the most development pressure in four high-profile neighborhoods > more

From Prints To Trivets, Art Imitates Life Of Manhole Covers

From Prints To Trivets, Art Imitates Life Of Manhole Covers

January 11, 2018  |  Vantage

Contributor Jonathan Schmalzbach talks with a designer and a printmaker about their obsession with manhole covers and public utility as creative muse > more

Little Corner at 10th & Market Reveals Big Legacy

Little Corner at 10th & Market Reveals Big Legacy

January 8, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

Reading Terminal, Philadelphia Mint, Drexel Institute--all prominent landmarks built by contractor Charles McCaul. The Shadow uncovers the little-known legacy of the big time builder at a nail salon on 10th Street > more