During a press conference shortly after 4:00 PM Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers provided a more complete timeline of the rescue and recover of the firefighters trapped this morning. Here’s the information -
Collapse – 5:56 AM
FF Chaney removed – 6:12 AM
FF Nally removed – 6:22 AM
Lt. Neary removed – 7:06 AM
FF Sweeney removed – 7:25 AM
At a noon hour press conference Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says the firefighters who died and were injured in the collapse this morning of a furniture store at 2411 Kensington Avenue had gone back into the building to confirm that earlier efforts to extinguish fire in the exposure building had been successful. It was at that time, approximately a half-hour after the fire at a vacant warehouse and other exposures had been declared under control, that a wall and part of the roof collapsed at the furniture store. Four firefighters were trapped for an extended period as their colleagues worked to free them.
Above is raw video from the press conference during the noon hour.
Killed were Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter Daniel Sweeney of Ladder 10. Firefighter Pat Nally is in critical but stable condition. Firefighter Francis Chaney is in stable condition. A fifth firefighter was able to free himself from the rubble and was treated and released.
Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter Daniel Sweeney, Ladder 10.
“With deep regret,” Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers has disclosed the names of two Philadelphia firefighters who perished this morning battling a fire in a furniture store that spread from a raging five-alarm blaze that leveled an aging Kensington warehouse.
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Neary was hoping to retire soon, and Sweeney was the son of a recently retired fire captain, according to Ladder 10 colleagues.
It took firefighters about two hours to dig out all of the trapped firefighters, said Deputy Fire Commissioner Ernest Hargett.
Google Maps view of furniture store at 2411 Kensington Avenue. Collapse reported to have occurred in the rear of the building. Click here to view the area.
The fire was first reported around 3:15 a.m. inside what was the Thomas Buck Hosiery Factory, which has been abandoned since the mid 1970s. Firefighters arrived on the scene to find heavy fire showing from all six floors of the building. Residents describe hearing explosions coming from inside the factory inferno.
Hot embers whipped up in strong winds started fires at six nearby homes and several surrounding businesses, including the furniture store. Firefighters were trying to extinguish the flames inside the furniture store when a rear wall collapsed, trapping five firefighters.
One of the firefighters managed to free himself but four others were trapped inside for several hours until they were finally pulled from the rubble.
Neary had 38 years in with the department, and he had four unit citations in his career.
Before joining the fire department, Neary was a Philadelphia Police officer for three years.
Neary leaves behind a wife, Diane, and their three children.
Firefighter Daniel Sweeney was a second-generation firefighter and joined the Department in July 2006. He was at Ladder 10 since 2007.
Sweeney already had two unit citations in his career.
Above is this morning’s initial press conference.