Video: Ambulance catches fire, torches Philly fire station

Union official: problem was made worse because engine that used to be at station was decommissioned and "ladders don't carry a water source"


By David Gambacorta
Philadelphia Daily News

PHILADELPHIA — Numerous Philly firefighters were in the unusual position yesterday of having to douse furious flames at their own building.

An ambulance inexplicably caught fire inside the headquarters for Ladder 2, at 4th and Arch streets, shortly after 11:30 a.m., filling the Old City firehouse with a blanket of black smoke.

"It's not something that you see often," said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

Two medics called for help after trying unsuccessfully to put out the fire, which appeared to have started in the engine, with an extinguisher, Ayers said.

Firefighters from Chinatown's Engine 20 and members of Ladder 2, who had been out of their firehouse to receive training, got the blaze under control at 11:49 a.m.

The cause of the fire is not yet known. The medics were not injured.

"The fire station is going to be out of service. We're looking at how we're going to operate," Ayers said yesterday, while standing across from the now-blackened building.

Like most city firehouses, Ladder 2, which sits next to the United States Mint, didn't have a sprinkler system, Ayers said.

Members of the International Association of Fire Fighters Union Local 22 noted that the city decommissioned Engine 8, which had been housed in the same building, in a cost-saving move in 2009.

"All we're trying to do is point out ... the danger of having single ladder companies. Ladders don't carry a water source," said Local 22 president Joe Schulle.

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(c)2013 the Philadelphia Daily News

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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