Answering the Call
It is the sound that pierces the heart of every community.
It is the wail of a fire whistle in the middle of the night.
For most of us, it causes only an initial jolt, then a sense of security that, one, it is not our home that is in distress, and two, that someone else will answer the call.
Friday night it was Parkside’s time to answer the call. As usual a small band of dedicated volunteers did not hesitate to climb out of bed, leave their family behind, and put their lives on the line in service to our communities.
Flames erupted at a townhouse in the Village Green development just after 2 a.m.
When the members of Parkside Fire Co. arrived on the scene, flames were consuming the structure, a roaring inferno.
That did not deter the volunteers who knew they needed to go inside to battle the flames and search for victims.
Two of them did not come out on their own power. Chase Frost and Dan Brees, both young volunteers, were trapped when the second floor collapsed on them
Frost is 21, a student at Widener University. He suffered serious burns over 50 percent of his body. Brees is 20. Both are listed in critical condition at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
Amazingly, no residents of the complex were injured in the inferno.
Frost and Brees are part of that rare breed today, young people who are signing up for volunteer duties with local fire companies. For the most part, their membership is made up of older guys who have been volunteering for decades.
One of the crucial issues facing the volunteer firefighting community is the lack of young people picking up the mantle of service.
Like most of their brethren, Frost and Brees never thought twice before answering the call early Saturday morning.
And they did not hesitate before putting their bodies in harm’s way once they got to the scene.
All as most of us slept, soundly no doubt, secure in the knowledge that there are those special people willing to answer the alarm.
It has been a difficult weekend both for the people of Parkside and for the volunteer firefighting community in Delaware County.
We wish a speedy recovery to Frost and Brees. We salute them for their service. And we offer a hearty thank-you to all those who do not hesitate to leave the comfort of home when that alarm sounds.
Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it’s so difficult to be a Phillies fan. One great thing about being a national game, as the Phils were last night, is hearing another point of view. That’s why I had to get a chuckle when Joe Morgan last night described Pat Burrell as “having some speed” on the bases. Burrell, of course, promptly was easily thrown out at home despite getting a running start on a 3-2 count on a ball hit to right field. Hey, what the heck. The Phils won.
The Daily Numbers: 4 Parkside firefighters who suffered injuries in a blaze early Saturday morning in the borough. Two of the volunteers are in critical condition.
50 percent of his body, the burns suffered by volunteer Chase Frost.
19, age of man killed in crash in Southwest Philadelphia early Sunday. Police believe the crash, in which several others were injured, may have been the latest involving drag racing that’s common in the area of South 61st Street and Passyunk.
2 teens now in custody after the second turned himself in to face charges in murder of shop owner during a botched robbery attempt in Philadelhia.
5 people hurt in an early morning house fire in Northampton Township, Bucks County, this morning.
2 dead in Bethlehem after a man killed his wife and then took his own life after they got home from the local Musikfest late Saturday night.
2 million dollars bail for suspect in Lancaster for a robbery suspect. The victim was found unresponsive in his home and later died.
22,000 dollars that a convenience store manager is believed to have swiped from the till, then gambled away at the Presque Isle Downs & Casino in one week last month.
4 grandmothers bludgeoned inside a Wilkes-Barre beauty salon by a man who made off with less than $90.
21 cases of an uncommon strain of salmonella in Pennsylvania that officials believe may be the result of humans handling infected dog food.
1 game back in the Wild-Card hunt for the Phils after they beat the Braves last night at Citizens Bank Park.
7 games over .500 for the Phils, who remain 3 back of the Mets in the N.L. East.
6 games on the road now for the Phils, who visit Washington and Pittsburgh.
4 wins and 2 losses for the Phils on their homestand..
0 snaps for Donovan McNabb tonight in the Eagles exhibition opener in Baltimore. A.J. Feeley gets the start, followed by Kelly Holcomb. Rookie Kevin Kolb is set to play the entire second half. McNabb is expected to play Friday at home.
I Don’t Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): While Eagles heach coach Andy Reid will be in Baltimore, his son will be in court in Montgomery County. Britt Reid is set to go on trial in connection with an incident in which he is believed to have displayed a gun to another motorist. Don’t you think the elder Reid would be there, as opposed to a meaningless preseason game?
Today’s Upper: Heat getting to you? Summer ends today, with the Eagles first exhibition game. Fall and winter cannot be far behind.
Quote Box: “We’re getting through the initial shock of the incident.”
-- Parkside Fire Co. Public Information Officer Thomas Cubler, on the serious injuries suffered by two young firefighters.