Outgoing Philly fire commissioner gives final budget testimony

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Outgoing Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer appeared before City Council for  a budget hearing Wednesday. (AP file photo)

Outgoing Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer appeared before City Council for a budget hearing Wednesday. (AP file photo)

Philadelphia’s outgoing fire commissioner testified at a City Council budget hearing Wednesday about the issues that have caused problems at the department. 

Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said 12 people perished as a result of fires last year. “That is a 63 percent decrease from the prior year, and a 50 percent decrease from our prior low which was in 2013 of 24,” he reported.

Adding paramedics will help decrease the department’s response times, Sawyer said.

“We have a paramedic list that will start in June, and then a class for EMT’s,” he said.

The commissioner also was asked whether his budget will achieve a savings of $10 million in overtime.

“I won’t be here to let you know, but we’re going to try,” the departing commissioner said.

Newly appointed Adam Thiel is expected to take over as commissioner of the department within a few weeks.

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