River Wards news at-a-glance

Ex-fire com­mis­sion­er cri­ti­cizes hand­ling of Buck Ho­siery fire, po­lice uni­on to hold fun­draiser for cop who was video­taped punch­ing a wo­man, Fishtown & NoLibs win big in Store­front Chal­lenge Awards, and plaque is ded­ic­ated to a Phil­adelphia po­lice of­ficer killed in 1942.

Ex-com­mish on Buck Ho­siery man­age­ment: ‘dis­grace­ful’

City Coun­cil’s com­mit­tee hear­ing last week at­temp­ted to de­term­ine if prop­er safety pre­cau­tions were in place dur­ing the five-alarm fire in April at the aban­doned Thomas W. Buck Ho­siery build­ing in Kens­ing­ton.

The blaze killed Lt. Robert Neary and fire­fight­er Daniel Sweeney, of Lad­der 10, when a wall col­lapsed.

At the hear­ing,  former  Phil­adelphia Fire Com­mis­sion­er Ro­ger Ulshafer called emer­gency man­age­ment at the blaze “dis­grace­ful.” He said that the com­mand­ers on the scene failed to set up a ‘col­lapse zone’ safety meas­ure.

A taped-off col­lapse zone area must be set up out­side a burn­ing build­ing at a dis­tance one-and-a-half times the height of the walls, ac­cord­ing to pro­tocol.

Fire Com­mis­sion­er Lloyd Ay­ers was not at the hear­ing. Star pre­vi­ously re­por­ted that the fire­fight­ers uni­on Loc­al 22 also claimed col­lapse zones were not es­tab­lished. Loc­al 22 has called for Ay­ers’ resig­na­tion, and the uni­on’s pres­id­ent, Bill Gault, has called Neary and Sweeney’s deaths “pre­vent­able.”

May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter’s of­fice this sum­mer re­leased a state­ment that a col­lapse zone was es­tab­lished. There are cur­rently two in­vest­ig­a­tions in­to the blaze, one by the Na­tion­al In­sti­tute for Oc­cu­pa­tion­al Safety and Health and an­oth­er by a loc­al grand jury. ••

FOP will have be­ne­fit for of­ficer that punched wo­man

The Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice has or­gan­ized a be­ne­fit on Oct. 28 for Lt. Jonath­an D. Jo­sey, the of­ficer who was video­taped punch­ing a wo­man in the head Sept. 30 at a party at 5th Street and Le­high Av­en­ue, fol­low­ing the city’s Pu­erto Ric­an Day Parade.

The $30-per-per­son event will be held at the FOP Hall on Spring Garden Street near Broad Street. Pro­ceeds, FOP Pres­id­ent John McNesby said, will help Jo­sey with his liv­ing ex­penses now that he no longer gets a paycheck. Jo­sey was sus­pen­ded with in­tent to dis­miss earli­er this month. ••

Fishtown, NoLibs sweep Store­front Chal­lenge awards

Earli­er this sum­mer, the Com­munity Design Col­lab­or­at­ive and the Com­merce De­part­ment began pro­mot­ing the city­wide Store­front Chal­lenge, which aimed to find ex­amples of store­front im­prove­ments of loc­al busi­nesses.

A pan­el of judges chose win­ners from more than 60 nom­in­ees, and store­fronts in Fishtown and North­ern Liber­ties col­lec­ted quite a few awards at the win­ners’ ce­re­mony last week.

The con­test and ce­re­mony were held as part of Design­Phil­adelphia, and to be eli­gible, con­struc­tion must have been com­pleted since Oc­to­ber 2010.

Win­ners in vari­ous cat­egor­ies were: Little Baby’s Ice Cream, 2311 Frank­ford Ave.; Silk City Diner, 5th and Spring Garden streets; YIKES, 204-06 E. Gir­ard Ave.; Ad­orn, 1314 Frank­ford Ave., and Frank­ford Hall, 1210-22 Frank­ford Ave. For more in­form­a­tion and pho­tos of the win­ners, vis­it www.plan­philly.com/eye­son­thes­treet. ••

Plaque ded­ic­a­tion for Thomas J. Wixted

Re­l­at­ives and friends of slain Phil­adelphia Po­lice Of­ficer Thomas J. Wixted are in­vited to at­tend the ded­ic­a­tion of a plaque me­mori­al­iz­ing him on Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. at 34th Street and Curie Boulevard in Uni­versity City.

Wixted, a former mem­ber of St. Anne’s Church in Port Rich­mond, was dir­ect­ing traffic out­side Con­ven­tion Hall on March 14, 1942, when a drunk­en driver in a stolen vehicle struck him from be­hind. Wixted died from his in­jur­ies the next day.

Wixted’s great-niece, Car­ol Anne Szew­czak, is spon­sor­ing the plaque ded­ic­a­tion for the Hero Plaque Pro­gram. ••

You can reach at star@bsmphilly.com.

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