Relatives and protesters staged a sit-in at City Hall on Wednesday demanding that Mayor Nutter apologize for comments he’d made about the fire that many found offensive.
Previously Nutter accused some of the residents in the community where the blaze erupted of spreading misinformation. According to Nutter, the firefighters were on the scene within minutes but many in the community where the Saturday blaze began say it took 30 minutes for trucks to arrive.
“I will not tolerate under any set of circumstances, incorrect information, allegations, innuendo or lies suggesting that members of the Philadelphia Fire Department did anything less than perform admirably in their service,” Nutter said.
Patrick Sanyeah, who lives in the mostly Liberian community and lost a four year old and an infant in the blaze, says some of the mayor’s televised remarks were disrespectful.
“My child is … burned to ashes,” Sanyeah said. “Don’t get on national TV and tell me I’m a clown.”
Sanyeah joined with other relatives and protesters to call on Mayor Nutter to show some sensitivity.
“We want (Nutter) to say, ‘We know you are hυrting, we are hυrting too, but we’ll do our best to conduct an investigation,’” Sanyeah said.
Several people were arrested during a protest on Monday over what they consider the city’s slow response to the fire. Although several protesters insist that the city took 30 minutes to respond to the fire, city officials say help arrived within five minutes.
“The members of the Philadelphia Fire Department, in particular the members on Engine 40, ladder 4 responded in a very timely fashion to this fire. Any other information put out by individuals that indicates otherwise is absolutely, positively, directly incorrect,” said Mayor Michael Nutter.