Fire deaths increased by one-third while fire-related injuries rose by 4 percent in Philadelphia last year, although both tallies remained well below recent historical peaks, according to year-end statistics released by the Philadelphia Fire Department this month.
A veteran firefighter from Lawncrest’s Engine 64 perished early Tuesday while battling a West Oak Lane basement fire. Joyce Craig-Lewis, 36, is the first woman firefighter to die in the line of duty in Philadelphia, Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Philadelphia’s firefighters union and City Councilman Bobby Henon have renewed calls for the elimination of the fire department’s brownout program in the aftermath of a Tacony blaze that injured three union members.
The Philadelphia Fire Department gained a new commissioner on June 14, one day following the retirement of the often-controversial Lloyd Ayers, who served 40 years as a firefighter, including the last decade as commissioner. Mayor Michael Nutter named Derrick Sawyer as Ayers’ successor last month.
Police and firefighters will square off in the boxing ring on Friday, Feb. 28, as the Philadelphia Blue Flame hosts the 11th annual Blue Flame Bouts at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory, Roosevelt Boulevard and Southampton Road.