Fire Union says “brownouts” killed boy

    Philadelphia Fire Department says a crew was on scene in under three minutes.

    A West Philadelphia rowhouse fire took the life of a 12 year old boy Saturday evening. Union leaders say the department’s response was slowed by city budget cuts.

    Last month Mayor Nutter announced that individual fire companies around the city would close on a rotating basis to save overtime costs. It turns out that a company around the corner from the blaze near 55th and Chestnut was out Saturday as part of the so called brownout program.

    Fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers says the company in this case had returned to service before the fire, but was away retrieving repaired equipment He said another company on 52nd st below Baltimore responded quickly:

    “Engine 68 wound up being the first company there. They were there in three minutes. So there was no effect based on the brownouts.”

    Firefighters union president Bill Gault sees it differently.

    “Engine 57 could have been there in a minute and a half. They could have mitigated this early and the kid could have had a shot.”

    The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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