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
Tax Credit Turnabout Triggers Protest At New Aloft Hotel

Tax Credit Turnabout Triggers Protest At New Aloft Hotel

October 23, 2017  |  News

No restaurant, no jobs, no explanation. Community activist groups want to know why $33 million in Federal and State tax credits and grants were awarded to renovate the Liberty Title Building for new Aloft hotel. GroJLart has the story > more

Willis Hale's Bold Beginnings On The Delaware River

Willis Hale’s Bold Beginnings On The Delaware River

October 20, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

The work of Willis G. Hale, the mind behind the much-adored Divine Lorraine and the frankly fussy Hale Building, is enjoying a renaissance as of late. The Victorian architect's penchant for brazen facades can be traced back to a warehouse on the Delaware River, demolished in the 1960s to make way for I-95. The Shadow has the backstory > more

On 40th Street, New Life For A Long-Hidden Furness

On 40th Street, New Life For A Long-Hidden Furness

October 18, 2017  |  Vantage

What's it take to restore this early Furness? Hidden City talks to developer Tom Lussenhop about the tear-down disaster ongoing across the city and his plans for the former West Philadelphia Institute > more

Praise And Protest At Historical Commission Meeting

Praise And Protest At Historical Commission Meeting

October 17, 2017  |  News

Applause and anger filled the room at the monthly Historical Commission meeting on Friday. GroJLart has the details > more

The True Center Of The City Revealed

The True Center Of The City Revealed

October 13, 2017  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

City Hall may be the "heart" of Philadelphia, but an unassuming corner in North Philly is the true center of the city. Harry K. explores the evolution of Penn's greene country towne and how Philadelphia has a history of being the center of attention > more

LIGHTS! MUSIC! ACTION! Historic Lansdowne Theater Poised For A Comeback

LIGHTS! MUSIC! ACTION! Historic Lansdowne Theater Poised For A Comeback

October 11, 2017  |  Vantage

After 30 years' slumber, Lansdowne's sumptuous Art Deco movie palace is ready to wake up, and rouse Main Street too, with music and community spirit. Ben Leech has the story > more