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    Did anyone see the dateline special last night on TV.I think any fire service personnel should be disgusted at the lack of action taken by the Philly FD and PD to save the man. The section dealt with a man who was attempting suicide by jumping off a bridge into a river 50 ft down. Most of the situation is caught on video tape. The fact that bothers me the most is that you can see that they really did not try to save his life. They stood on the bridge and watched as he thought about jumping off, no rescue boat in water, or on the shoreline after he was up for 40+ mins. He finally jumped into the water and you could tell he was not a good swimmer and was struggling to stay afloat. Still the only attempt was some Bullsh** throw rope from the top of the bridge into the water. A civilian finally jumped into the river swam over 250 ft to where they had last seen him ( by this time he was under water, still no rescue boat or fire personnel on the shore). The civilain was a beach lifeguard. He found the victim and swam him to shore another 250 ft. I used to think Philly was a good Dept. But this has left a nasty taste in my mouth. By the time another person jumped in and helped the first guy get him to shore, Then you see the FD start to try to get to shore, then you figure they would have at least a BVM to get some ventilations in and begin CPR, NO they just did chest compressions because in the 40+ mins they were waiting for him to jump NO ONE THOUGHT HE MIGHT NEED IT. The man DIED because of the lack of action from the emergency personnel from PHILLY FD and PD. I mean OVER FORTY MINUTES TO PREPARE AND STILL NOT HAVE A BOAT ON THE WATER, THAT IS A SHAME. OUR JOB IS HELP PEOPLE AND THEY COULD NOT!BY THE WAY THE POLICE MARINA UNIT WAS LESS THEN TEN MINUTES DOWN STREAM. I would like to get other opinions on this issue.

  • #2
    You'd like to get other opinions, but you seem to have formed a bunch of your own already and trashed the whole department. Im going to try to get a copy of the show, but I find it interesting to see a firefighter take the bait from a news show that has nothing better to do than sensationalize an unfortunate incident and try to paint the whole department this way.


    • #3
      so you are telling me that you are going to put down the philly fd cause they messed up once? i live about 20 mins from philly and they are making all these excuses why they didnt attempt to save him. yes they did mess up but this is rare. yes i did watch DATELINE but i only caught the tail end of the interview. they could of done something like had a marine boat or they could of atleast been awating on the shoreline until they reached it. but what would of happen if the two civilians would have gone down during their rescue? then what would they have done?

      Brian Cirard


      • #4
        I saw this on Dateline and I was appauled by the lack of action by the Philadelphia Fire Department. I completely agree with how the news presented this particular rescue. I also think that this one incident DOESN'T reflect all rescues handled by the Philadephia FD. But it certainly brings awarness to being unprepared. It's unfortunate that someone had to die as a result of it. With or without a rescue boat the fire/rescue personnel should have been in the water assisting the real rescuers in that situation. There was also mention that they had no equipment along side the river awaiting the victim.

        What do you think being a fireman is? They even said in the interview a fireman is there to give his or her life for another. It is one of the risks of the job. As a fireman I agree.



        • #5
          First of all I want to thank OSIRIS500 for starting this post, but I want to know what happened, and we probably won't get much for an answer because of the pending lidigations, but I hope that people realise that this is made to look bad. Do you actually think that a new broadcaster would favor the "bad guys" in this incident. I don't think so. If any of the Philly FF are around share you thoughts with what went wrong on that day. It's a learning experience.


          If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!


          • #6
            There is no doubt the show created controversy and painted a picture of uncaring FD and PD. I am wondering if the fire dept. is even equiped to handle such situations. Do they have a boat nearby? Do they have two boats nearby as we all know if you put 1 boat in the water you need another one ready to go in case something happens? Do they have training and equipment in water entry and water rescue? It sure is ironic that we see a potential mistake that could have been taken completely out of context. I wonder why Dateline doesn't do a show on the refusal of the City of Philadelphia to pay for and recognize the treatments for Hepatitis C. I wasn't there so I don't know all the details but I sure would give the f/fs the benefit of the doubt.


            • #7
              I saw the show and I really would like to know what went on between the crews and the onscene I.C. I can't imagine 30 to 40 rescuers just standing by without someone telling them not to go in or have a boat. I personally as I.C. would have 3 guys ready to go in from the bank with personal floatation devices on if a boat was not available. Above all I would have EMS awaiting at the bank. I'm not putting down the Fire Department but would like to know what they felt and what they were wanting to do.

              Tell your family you love them.


              • #8
                I can't believe that none of the firemen or policemen acted on their own and went into the water to assist or initiate the rescue. Several of the firemen in the video clips were wearing life vests. It was clear that they had a rope as well.

                I wasn't there and only watching the news where most of the story was one sided-the victims, but based on that I would have made an attempt to rescue the victim(s) including the two civilian rescuers.

                I too would like to know if the Philadephia Fire Department has some sort of Water Rescue Team or as a result of this incident is there now specialized training being implemented for these types of rescues? Are the members of the Rescue Company certified for these incidents?

                Glen Bordas


                • #9
                  Does anyone realize that this man wanted to die? Why risk anothers life to attempt to save the life of someone who doesn't want to be saved?

                  Now I don't even think Philly has a rescue boat, and if they do it's probably stored somewhere near the Delaware River (not too close to where this happened), and last time I checked, swimming in bunker gear was not a class I took when I became a FF.

                  Get real, all of you who say you would have jumped in to save this man, I invite you down to Philly and I'll show you the river in question. It is fast moving, extremely wide, and very cold this time of year!! It's easy to say you would have did this and that, but the fact of the matter is, this is the big city, the FD can't be jumping into rivers after every jumper. This is a common occurence in Philly, NYC, etc. Jumping in after these people is an unnecessary risk that no man should be expected to take.

                  My $0.02

                  Mike DeVuono

                  "There are few atheists inside a burning building."

                  These are my opinions and not those of my department.


                  • #10
                    This apparently happened over the summer (everyone was in shorts and they stated that water temperature was not an issue). I would stop far short of condemning the entire department for the actions of the individuals (and mainly the IC) on this particular scene on this particular day. I do, however, find this an extremely embarrassing incident for the Philadelphia FD, and I would have hoped, litigation or no, that action would have been taken against those negligent in this incident. It is sad that a FD is more concerned with litigation than admitting wrong-doing and attempting to avoid another incident of this type. Granted the river rescue unit (about 1 mile downstream according to Dateline) belongs to the PD, but there will be more than enough blame to go around on this one.

                    My condolences to my fine professional brothers on the PFD who were not involved but must also bear the shame of the incompetence of a few of their peers (and supposed supervisors).


                    • #11
                      Do you know the SOP's the Philadelphia Fire Department has on water rescue? Are they only land based or vessel based rescuers? Do the police do the rescue and the Fire service provides EMS? I unfortunately did not see the show and I don't know the rules that govern that departments actions at emergency incidents involving water rescue, so I won't comment on what was or wasn't done. I will state the fact that once again hindsight is 20/20 and another firefighter is convinced that they would have done a better job and has taken it upon themselves to make an ugly situation even more hideous. Nice work on supporting your brother.


                      • #12
                        "SOP's"....."FD EMS Only"....."Man wanted to die"....."Jumping common occurrence"..... blah, blah, blah. Aren't we suppose to just plain help people? Get real.


                        • #13
                          I was in the area at the time of the incident. First of all, it should be noted that much of the criticism was directed at the PD. I believe it was a PD incident, with Philly FD being under the police IC. Thus, it was the responsibility of the police to have the boat thier, not the fire department. Philly has 2 fireboats, and one raft, but they are rarely launched for water rescue. If they are, it is only for man in the water, not for man on a bridge. Man on a bridge is a PD assigdment. Even if the FD had launched their boat once the incident changed to a rescue, it would have been too late.
                          The police have a marine unit stationed about 1 mile down river. Why didn't the police have their boat there? It was on assignment down the river recovering cars. When the batallion chief apparantly on his way to the fire, stopped by the marine unit and saw the boat was not responding, he was obviously suprised. Also, would you have gone in after the man after your officer told you not to? Probably not. If it had been a kid involved in an accidental drowning? yes, you would have gone in, and even though you would technically have been going against policy, no one would have made a big deal about it.
                          That being said, the video does look very bad. Philly fire and police will have some major explaining to do.


                          • #14
                            The Philadelphia Fire Department does not have the training or the equipment for water rescue. The Philadelphia POLICE Department has a water rescue unit and a dive team. So don't condemn the PFD because of a biased news story! Dateline has a history of attacking FDs I remember a story they ran last year about a Volunteer FD in NY getting sued because of a fatality and that story was completely from the victims point of view. So it doesn't surprise me that Dateline once again has turned their eyes on a Fire Department.
                            And how come Dateline didn't run a story on the pier collapse that occurred in July in which members of both the Philadelphia Fire & Police Departments along with many of the Fire Departments in Camden County were involved in pulling at least a hundred people out of the Delaware River? I guess that was a favorable story in which the public servants involved couldn't be made out to look like the bad guys, Like Dateline likes to portray.

                            The statements above are my own opinions

                            FF Greg Grudzinski
                            Oaklyn Fire Dept.
                            Station 18-3

                            [This message has been edited by ENGINE18-3 (edited 02-13-2001).]


                            • #15
                              As usual the national media highlights a negative incident. Heaven forbid they portray the many successful rescues and heroic acts the Philly FD has done. I caught the end of the piece and from the looks of the water,I'd question sending anybody in. The two "heros of the day" should keep one thing in mind;timing and luck are the differnce between live heros and dead fools.


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