In the summer of 2010 the City of Philadelphia began a “rolling brownout” measure, in which local fire stations close for determined periods of time. The City put the measure in place to save approximately $3.8 million and prevent permanent closing of fire stations and layoffs of firemen and women. (In 2009, the City shut down seven fire stations.)
Since the brownouts started, there have been several fires in which the closest and most direct fire station was browned out, resulting in unnecessary loss of life.
This was the case on February 22, when two young boys (Peterson and Kevin Taing, ages 9 and 7) tragically lost their lives in a fire. On that day, Engine 61, the closest fire engine, was closed due to the brownouts.
On May 9, neighbors, community members, and members of the Media Mobilizing Project, One Love Movement, Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia and Fire Fighters Union Local 22 held a press conference to remember Peterson and Kevin and raise awareness of the brownouts.
To paraphrase Tim McShea, Vice President of Local 22: We can’t be sure that Engine 61 would have gotten to the scene of the fire in time, but because of the brownouts they weren’t even given a chance to.
To make a contribution to the Taing family, please vist www.CAGP.org.