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  1. #1
    OSIRIS500 Guest


    Did anyone see the dateline special last night on TV.I think any fire service personnel should be disgusted at the lack of action taken by the Philly FD and PD to save the man. The section dealt with a man who was attempting suicide by jumping off a bridge into a river 50 ft down. Most of the situation is caught on video tape. The fact that bothers me the most is that you can see that they really did not try to save his life. They stood on the bridge and watched as he thought about jumping off, no rescue boat in water, or on the shoreline after he was up for 40+ mins. He finally jumped into the water and you could tell he was not a good swimmer and was struggling to stay afloat. Still the only attempt was some Bullsh** throw rope from the top of the bridge into the water. A civilian finally jumped into the river swam over 250 ft to where they had last seen him ( by this time he was under water, still no rescue boat or fire personnel on the shore). The civilain was a beach lifeguard. He found the victim and swam him to shore another 250 ft. I used to think Philly was a good Dept. But this has left a nasty taste in my mouth. By the time another person jumped in and helped the first guy get him to shore, Then you see the FD start to try to get to shore, then you figure they would have at least a BVM to get some ventilations in and begin CPR, NO they just did chest compressions because in the 40+ mins they were waiting for him to jump NO ONE THOUGHT HE MIGHT NEED IT. The man DIED because of the lack of action from the emergency personnel from PHILLY FD and PD. I mean OVER FORTY MINUTES TO PREPARE AND STILL NOT HAVE A BOAT ON THE WATER, THAT IS A SHAME. OUR JOB IS HELP PEOPLE AND THEY COULD NOT!BY THE WAY THE POLICE MARINA UNIT WAS LESS THEN TEN MINUTES DOWN STREAM. I would like to get other opinions on this issue.

  2. #2
    Halligan84 Guest


    You'd like to get other opinions, but you seem to have formed a bunch of your own already and trashed the whole department. Im going to try to get a copy of the show, but I find it interesting to see a firefighter take the bait from a news show that has nothing better to do than sensationalize an unfortunate incident and try to paint the whole department this way.

  3. #3
    fyrefyghter10 Guest


    so you are telling me that you are going to put down the philly fd cause they messed up once? i live about 20 mins from philly and they are making all these excuses why they didnt attempt to save him. yes they did mess up but this is rare. yes i did watch DATELINE but i only caught the tail end of the interview. they could of done something like had a marine boat or they could of atleast been awating on the shoreline until they reached it. but what would of happen if the two civilians would have gone down during their rescue? then what would they have done?

    Brian Cirard

  4. #4
    GBordas Guest


    I saw this on Dateline and I was appauled by the lack of action by the Philadelphia Fire Department. I completely agree with how the news presented this particular rescue. I also think that this one incident DOESN'T reflect all rescues handled by the Philadephia FD. But it certainly brings awarness to being unprepared. It's unfortunate that someone had to die as a result of it. With or without a rescue boat the fire/rescue personnel should have been in the water assisting the real rescuers in that situation. There was also mention that they had no equipment along side the river awaiting the victim.

    What do you think being a fireman is? They even said in the interview a fireman is there to give his or her life for another. It is one of the risks of the job. As a fireman I agree.


  5. #5
    Firelover Guest


    First of all I want to thank OSIRIS500 for starting this post, but I want to know what happened, and we probably won't get much for an answer because of the pending lidigations, but I hope that people realise that this is made to look bad. Do you actually think that a new broadcaster would favor the "bad guys" in this incident. I don't think so. If any of the Philly FF are around share you thoughts with what went wrong on that day. It's a learning experience.


    If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!

  6. #6
    HarleyGump Guest


    There is no doubt the show created controversy and painted a picture of uncaring FD and PD. I am wondering if the fire dept. is even equiped to handle such situations. Do they have a boat nearby? Do they have two boats nearby as we all know if you put 1 boat in the water you need another one ready to go in case something happens? Do they have training and equipment in water entry and water rescue? It sure is ironic that we see a potential mistake that could have been taken completely out of context. I wonder why Dateline doesn't do a show on the refusal of the City of Philadelphia to pay for and recognize the treatments for Hepatitis C. I wasn't there so I don't know all the details but I sure would give the f/fs the benefit of the doubt.

  7. #7


    I saw the show and I really would like to know what went on between the crews and the onscene I.C. I can't imagine 30 to 40 rescuers just standing by without someone telling them not to go in or have a boat. I personally as I.C. would have 3 guys ready to go in from the bank with personal floatation devices on if a boat was not available. Above all I would have EMS awaiting at the bank. I'm not putting down the Fire Department but would like to know what they felt and what they were wanting to do.

    Tell your family you love them.

  8. #8
    GBordas Guest


    I can't believe that none of the firemen or policemen acted on their own and went into the water to assist or initiate the rescue. Several of the firemen in the video clips were wearing life vests. It was clear that they had a rope as well.

    I wasn't there and only watching the news where most of the story was one sided-the victims, but based on that I would have made an attempt to rescue the victim(s) including the two civilian rescuers.

    I too would like to know if the Philadephia Fire Department has some sort of Water Rescue Team or as a result of this incident is there now specialized training being implemented for these types of rescues? Are the members of the Rescue Company certified for these incidents?

    Glen Bordas

  9. #9
    Mike DeVuono Guest


    Does anyone realize that this man wanted to die? Why risk anothers life to attempt to save the life of someone who doesn't want to be saved?

    Now I don't even think Philly has a rescue boat, and if they do it's probably stored somewhere near the Delaware River (not too close to where this happened), and last time I checked, swimming in bunker gear was not a class I took when I became a FF.

    Get real, all of you who say you would have jumped in to save this man, I invite you down to Philly and I'll show you the river in question. It is fast moving, extremely wide, and very cold this time of year!! It's easy to say you would have did this and that, but the fact of the matter is, this is the big city, the FD can't be jumping into rivers after every jumper. This is a common occurence in Philly, NYC, etc. Jumping in after these people is an unnecessary risk that no man should be expected to take.

    My $0.02

    Mike DeVuono

    "There are few atheists inside a burning building."

    These are my opinions and not those of my department.

  10. #10
    pyroknight Guest

    Thumbs down

    This apparently happened over the summer (everyone was in shorts and they stated that water temperature was not an issue). I would stop far short of condemning the entire department for the actions of the individuals (and mainly the IC) on this particular scene on this particular day. I do, however, find this an extremely embarrassing incident for the Philadelphia FD, and I would have hoped, litigation or no, that action would have been taken against those negligent in this incident. It is sad that a FD is more concerned with litigation than admitting wrong-doing and attempting to avoid another incident of this type. Granted the river rescue unit (about 1 mile downstream according to Dateline) belongs to the PD, but there will be more than enough blame to go around on this one.

    My condolences to my fine professional brothers on the PFD who were not involved but must also bear the shame of the incompetence of a few of their peers (and supposed supervisors).

  11. #11
    dr inferno Guest


    Do you know the SOP's the Philadelphia Fire Department has on water rescue? Are they only land based or vessel based rescuers? Do the police do the rescue and the Fire service provides EMS? I unfortunately did not see the show and I don't know the rules that govern that departments actions at emergency incidents involving water rescue, so I won't comment on what was or wasn't done. I will state the fact that once again hindsight is 20/20 and another firefighter is convinced that they would have done a better job and has taken it upon themselves to make an ugly situation even more hideous. Nice work on supporting your brother.

  12. #12
    jdm2267 Guest


    "SOP's"....."FD EMS Only"....."Man wanted to die"....."Jumping common occurrence"..... blah, blah, blah. Aren't we suppose to just plain help people? Get real.

  13. #13
    82engine Guest


    I was in the area at the time of the incident. First of all, it should be noted that much of the criticism was directed at the PD. I believe it was a PD incident, with Philly FD being under the police IC. Thus, it was the responsibility of the police to have the boat thier, not the fire department. Philly has 2 fireboats, and one raft, but they are rarely launched for water rescue. If they are, it is only for man in the water, not for man on a bridge. Man on a bridge is a PD assigdment. Even if the FD had launched their boat once the incident changed to a rescue, it would have been too late.
    The police have a marine unit stationed about 1 mile down river. Why didn't the police have their boat there? It was on assignment down the river recovering cars. When the batallion chief apparantly on his way to the fire, stopped by the marine unit and saw the boat was not responding, he was obviously suprised. Also, would you have gone in after the man after your officer told you not to? Probably not. If it had been a kid involved in an accidental drowning? yes, you would have gone in, and even though you would technically have been going against policy, no one would have made a big deal about it.
    That being said, the video does look very bad. Philly fire and police will have some major explaining to do.

  14. #14
    ENGINE18-3 Guest


    The Philadelphia Fire Department does not have the training or the equipment for water rescue. The Philadelphia POLICE Department has a water rescue unit and a dive team. So don't condemn the PFD because of a biased news story! Dateline has a history of attacking FDs I remember a story they ran last year about a Volunteer FD in NY getting sued because of a fatality and that story was completely from the victims point of view. So it doesn't surprise me that Dateline once again has turned their eyes on a Fire Department.
    And how come Dateline didn't run a story on the pier collapse that occurred in July in which members of both the Philadelphia Fire & Police Departments along with many of the Fire Departments in Camden County were involved in pulling at least a hundred people out of the Delaware River? I guess that was a favorable story in which the public servants involved couldn't be made out to look like the bad guys, Like Dateline likes to portray.

    The statements above are my own opinions

    FF Greg Grudzinski
    Oaklyn Fire Dept.
    Station 18-3

    [This message has been edited by ENGINE18-3 (edited 02-13-2001).]

  15. #15
    chf jstano Guest


    As usual the national media highlights a negative incident. Heaven forbid they portray the many successful rescues and heroic acts the Philly FD has done. I caught the end of the piece and from the looks of the water,I'd question sending anybody in. The two "heros of the day" should keep one thing in mind;timing and luck are the differnce between live heros and dead fools.

  16. #16
    newtonb Guest


    The national media highlights negative issues because if they tried to highlight the positive issues, there would not be enough time in the day to show them all. And no one would be interested in wathing another "positive thing". We learn from our mistakes. Look at history. There are things people did in the past which are no longer done because it either was wrong or ineffecient. So it is unfortunate that this person lost his life, but if a procedure needs to be changed, change it for the future.

  17. #17
    NCRSQ751 Guest


    I really dislike posts like this. If you have been in this business ANY length of time and have gotten over the invincible ego phase new guys get you would never post such a slam on another department.

    Dateline is famous for it's biased stories. They are routinely presented from only one point of view and tend to conveniently leave out a lot of the facts (as has been pointed out here by several people).

    NO ONE has the right to make such harsh judgements without knowing all the facts.

    It seems here that it might just be the case that the FD had no responsiblity, jurisdiction or even training or equipment to handle such an incident (if the PD really does the water rescue).

    Remember, things are different everywhere, some departments simply don't handle these incidents, some are bound by SOP's that may be different from your own and frankly none of us knows what mitigating circumstances may have existed that did not appear on the 'video'.

    When you judge others harshly, remember that it may be you in that situation one day - would you appreciate being second guessed by someone not even remotely familiar with the situation?

    Susan Bednar
    Forsyth Rescue Squad (Captain)
    Griffith Volunteer FD

  18. #18


    I posted on another forum with the same topic yesterday? It did look badly for everyone involved, no doubt, but please don't argue with the facts. Yes they could of, would of, should of had a boat in the water, but for those of you who are all for jumping in the water I have this for you. Would you run up and try to take the gun from the someone trying to shot themselves? People who are serious about taking their own life would care for a minute to take you with them. On the issue of the boat, I think someone stated earlier that the boat was on another call. How may times have you been on another call and had to miss a first in assignment. Yes we are here to help, but no one said we could save everyone in every situation. Stand proud in Philly brothers and hold your heads up high. If I remember correctly, most of the same people that have posted here, were wanting a public hanging for the homeless people in Worcester because our brothers died trying to save them!


    [This message has been edited by JAMESBENNETT (edited 02-14-2001).]

  19. #19
    Engineforlife Guest


    Those of you bashing Pilly:

    You make me friggin sick. You sit there dying a slow death in your easy chairs watching a liberal and biased trashbag show, and then you make opinions and assumptions on how another fire department should operate.
    OSIRIS500 Wrote:

    The man died because of the lack of action from the emergency personell from Philly FD and PD.

    Who the F@$# are you to make that statement?? Was that printed in the medical examiners report?? You weren't there...christ, the closest guy to this incident from this forum was "in the area" and he defended PFD.

    It's clowns like you all that are not only helping to bring down the fire service..but our whole freakin' country. What is this need to place blame on all unfortunate mishaps that may or may not be accountable to someone?

    I feel for the guys that have to work with you jokers...I couldn't imagine working with someone who would try and rat me out in a heartbeat, especially without all the facts.

    I'm sure that if all you talented IC's, firefighters, water rescue specialists and EMT's were all there instead of PFD you would have made all the right decisions and MR. Jumper would be alive today...yeah right.

    Nothing but a bunch of Monday mornin' quarterbacks on this forum.

    Get a life....Engineforlife

  20. #20
    Ghetto Fireman Guest


    I usually bash engine for life but

    OSIRIS500, you are obviously a f&cking moron. You arent smart enough to know when the media stretches the truth to make a "STORY"

    Who do you think you are bashing them you miserable bastard.

    Go back to the county to whatever crappy station you are in. When you become the god of the fire service then open your supid mouth.

    Its funny that you have the balls to comment on something that you werent at because you were on a medic local playin with yourself.

    You should be ashamed of yourself...everyone who bashed PFD for what they saaw on TV.. You are all a bunch of blowjobs

  21. #21
    4iron Guest


    Are you really that dumb?Mouthing off like that.
    First of all,the media can twist a story anyway they choose.
    Second,get the REAL facts.
    And third,don't slam Brothers/Sisters,that's a golden rule.

  22. #22
    LHS* Guest


    Yeah, shame on you for believing what you see happening in real time on TV. How dare you think anything or ask what if or why or what is going on. Perception is reality to the public but to us we know no matter what happened that there just had to be more to it, ask OJ!

    Wait for the spin next time before you comment! That way you can confirm you were right the first time.

    You hear these stories about ambulances stopping for donuts with patients in the back and think that is stupid.

    But the spin tells you they were hungry. But the guys at the station said they all had a huge breakfast together. The medic might have been a diabetic and forgot the glucose sticks were on the rig. But i turns out he wan't diabetic. Or he/'d been working 7 days straight without sleep. Then you read he'd only been on shift 3 hours and it was his first call.

    Why was everybody standing around? What you want action?

    So the life guard was the hero. When Air Florida hit the bridge in DC people asked why didn't the firefighters go in isn't that their job? Of course it wasn't that is what all the civilians stopped their cars and got out for!

    You can't in anyway think an LODD was probably the firefighters and in many cases their supervisors own fault.

    Come on he's a good kid, 19 years old why shouldn't he be allowed to drive a 60,000 lb ladder truck at 20 mph over the speed limit, heck he's here during the day when no one else is? EVOC and CDL's are over rated and expensive. We've done this for years.

    That being 150 lbs over weight and 65 years old on the fire ground could result in a heart attack. The fact he's been on coronary medicine for several years and has high blood pressure doesn't mean we can't let a nice guy help out. Heck he's only got 3 years until he retires.

    That busting an intersection at 45 mph and not wearing your belt couldn't possibly be the driver and the officer's own fault. That car with the green light should have seen us coming and stopped.

    Anyone could have done it, gee who'd of thought the ladder would fall over if you don't use the outriggers, I was only raising it for a minute. It was low bid anyway we cut the anti gravity switch.

    Dang there was only four of us on the tip of 200 lbs tip load ladder and it broke, gee they build lousy ladder trucks. You can't avoid that or express an opinion. You don't know exactly what went on. They did a lot of good things before that.

    When you read of court cases where the FD covered up the real cause of a fatal accident, how dare the jury payout to the dead person. When the paperwork had all been changed and witnesses ignored? That's not right, don't they know we are heros?

    You can't bring charges against an officer for abandoning his crew inside and taking the radio with him and then not reporting they were missing. It was there fault, not his.

    So the crew was free lancing and got dead. They were sincere (sincerely wrong) in what they were doing. Heck everytime we are told some one is inside they always are. We don't have time to look at the risk and make a life and death decision like that.

    How dare you judge someone else's judgement, you weren't there! So fire was through the roof on arrival and the truss roof was supporting HVAC equipment and the building had been closed for hours, we're an agressive department. You can't question the call to go inside. Heck there could have been a family of 12 sleeping in there, just like the other 75 families we've found in closed for the evening fully involved businesses this month. You can't question anything, no two fires are ever the same and there isn't even a single thing common between them, ever!

    75 year old guys are fun to have around they only represent 5% of the fire deaths each year, who could have possibly figured they'd croke at a fire?

    So you run over a firefighter driving through heavy smoke at grass fire once in a while, that guy should have been able to see and hear you coming. It isn't the crews fault accidents happen.

    So we roll 7 to 10 tankers a year that were homemade by the firefighters in the station driven by our buddies, think of all the money we saved building it ourselves! Can't wait to build the next one with the insurance check.

    I'm going to stand out here and direct traffic, I've got my turnouts on and they better do what I say, I have authority, who'd of figured the car would run in to you? Unavoidable, couldn't have been predicted.

    Saying I'd do the same exact thing again even though I know the outcome last time I did it is the manly thing, how dare you think you can learn from an incident or fatality!

    Everyone knows you leave when the air bottle alarm goes off you've got a quarter bottle of air left. There isn't any way anyone could have known that if it took 23 minutes to get the alarm bell to sound that you'd only have 7 minutes to get back out the same way you went in. It was just unfortunate. Couldn't have forseen that.

    What was Freid talking about when he said after 20 minutes (the first air pack alarm) of active fire involvement in older buildings, withdrawl companies, and Francis thinking when he said any invlovement in a truss space or suspected involvement should require evacuation? Those things don't apply hear, we're unique. You know it is just co--inky--dink that all these recent fatalities occurred well after the time the first air bottle alarms went off.

    So command only does accountability every hour, you can hold your breath that long?

    How dare the public expect anything!

    We need to honor everyone who screws up big time they are all heros!

    Don't you guys know we are all victims!

    FREE OJ. NICOLE did it!

  23. #23
    4iron Guest

    Red face

    How long did it take to come up with that????????

    How long did it take to type????????

    How do you really feel???????????????

  24. #24
    LHS* Guest


    I'm not sure!

    I feel we are in Japan and no matter how the plane crashes it is never the pilots fault because we have to save his pride.

  25. #25
    ArmyTruckCompany Guest


    As a resident of Philadelphia, I feel like I should comment on this. Please understand that much of what I am about to say is hearsay, heard at kitchen tables of various Philadelphia companies. Perhaps I should just reserve comment, but this whole thing had left a dark stain upon the PFD; which I believe is grossly unjust. I apologize in advance if anything is untrue.

    -Members of the PFD have no formal training on swift water rescue, other than on the job expierience or training taken off duty, with the exception of Rescue Company 1. (and I understand that their training is minimal)

    -Marine Company 2 is stationed on the same river (The Schuykill River for you out of towners...say "skool kill") However it is stationed approximately 7-8 miles downriver, and even if it could have reached the scene in a timely fashion (top speed is approx 12mph) it couldn't get there, because the draft of the boat exceeds the available depth.

    -Marine Company 1 is stationed on the Delaware River, and would have taken every bit of 1.5 hours to have gotten there (again, draft of the boat exceeding available depth)

    -The Phila. PD has the "Authority", the responsibility, or whatever you want to call it for handling swiftwater rescues.

    -The Phila PD does have units stationed at various places on the Schuykill, however, The "in water" boats are all downstream of where this incident occured. You must understand that this incident occured in an area that is "above" several dams- unreachable by "in water" boats. The PD does maintain several units equipped with inflatables, however rumor has it that due to budget constraints they are not manned year round and only during peak "summer " times. I believe this event occured in the spring.

    -Rumor has it that the PD believed the man to be armed, and advised ALL personnel to stay AWAY. This also included when he fell in the water.

    -Rescue 1 does carry some swiftwater equipment- however, rumor has it that they were using a spare rig that day, and they can't carry everything on the spare piece.

    What occured is definetly a shame. However, where was Dateline when units of the PFD in Southwest Philadelphia made HUNDREDS of rescues in floodwaters that occured virtually instantaneously during Hurricane Floyd?? There is plenty of news footage of this incident that they could have used to present a positive sidebar. Or where was Dateline when a pier housing a nightclub collapsed into the Delaware River, sending over 100 people into the largest freshwater port in the US?? Over 100 people went in the dark murky depths, in an area where the river is approx. 3/4 of a mile wide, with shipping channels, and lots of pleasure craft traffic- and yet there were only 3 fatalities......Where was Dateline that night??

    -Those of you who question the PFD- Why don't you call 215 686 1776, and ask for Fire Commissioner Hairston's office, and ask him why he returned over 2 Million dollars from his FY 2000 budget back to the city?? Why not use some of that money to train the members on swiftwater rescue?? Ask him if his personal agenda is more important???? The more money he turns back in, the better it looks for him....I hope for the sake of the Baltimore FD that he doesn't get the job there....The man just really doesnt care about anyone or anything that does not affect Harold Hairston. Ask him why are the members using low-bid gloves?? Ask him why does the Philadelphia FD, the 5th largest FD in the US rank far behind the vast majority of FD's in the US in the area of exposure control and universal precautions???

    Before you pass judgement, come see what the members in Philly have to deal with. Yes, it's true that every city, town, and village will have money problems. But most of those places will tell the fire chief "We care, but there just isn't money".....Deal with it when you are told "We dont have any money and even if we did we dont give a sh*t." (knowing that there IS money because you are holding a copy of the budget in your hand...)

    I invite anyone to come and buff Philly with me- I will take you to several stations and you can sit down and have a cup of coffee with Philly's finest- if they aren't watching their cars out in the lot because the city won't fix the fence, or if they aren't out on the 90th first response of the morning for an OD....

    I'm done rambling.....

    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

    [This message has been edited by ArmyTruckCompany (edited 02-14-2001).]

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