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Sidewalk Memorial: Leiper Street Fire Victims

A sidewalk memorial has started at the house of the tragic fire on Leiper Street.  As Neast Magazine reported on Monday, a 7-year-old-boy and a woman in her 40s died in a fire on Leiper Street Saturday morning. identified the boy as Quamier Hatchett and the woman as Debbie Hatchett, his aunt. In all, 8 family members lived at 4340 Leiper Street.  All but one were home when the fire raged through the house.  The fire department reported that there was only one smoke alarm in the house, which they found in the basement with no battery.  Another article on reports that the cause of the fire was a stove left on by an autistic member of the family that was cooking at 6 am.

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The Owner of 1338 Harrison Checks In, And I Have An Official Statement From Our Councilwoman

burned-house-wreckage“rich jolly”, probably the owner of 1338 Harrison(although on the internet you really never can tell) left a comment explaining his position.

i am the owner of 1338 Harrison St and lived there for 30yrs before i moved out in 1998, i now rent the property out and recently had a major fire 2 months back , the insurance co had to do a full investigation and i was unable to get rid of anything until now which i plan on cleaning the front of the house sat april 18 if I’m able to get a dumpster, if not sat then during the week. growing up in fkd most of my life and watching the house you lived in burn down is a very hard thing to handle. i have full intentions to fix this property up if structurally possible and apologize for the look of the condition the house is in now

And yesterday at 4:15 PM, councilwoman Sanchez got back to me after the Director of Enforcement and Neighborhood Services got back to her in regards to the property. He says the property got inspected on 3/19/09 and that violations were issued.  And what this means is that the owner of the property has has 30 days to fix said violations. The city inspector is scheduled to come out on 4/20/2009(this Monday) to verify that the property has been brought back into compliance.  If it hasn’t, the city will remove the debris, and fine the owner for the inconvenience.

This is a most welcomed coincidence for Mr Jolly.  His weekend schedule has freed him up to tend to his property before the city steps in that Monday.

Also, over on phillyblog we’re discussing whether insurance companies force homeowners to leave (the word for this shit goes beyond trash) hazardous material for kids to play on for months at a time.

Now it just seems we must wait till Monday.  This has been a fun exercise in civic engagement.  I’ll have pics of this property, cleared or dirty, next week.

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Residents Of Harrison Street, Councilwoman Sanchez Has Called Me Back!

Burned Out House with Fireman Cutback Sign in ForegroundAt 11:40 am the councilwoman called me back in regards to 1338 Harrison Street.  She said she was passing the information off.  I forgot to ask to whom(this shows I’m no journalist), I assume it was to L&I.  She said steps to remediate this may take some time since this involves a fire.  She also spoke of possibly of citing the owners of the house.

We must stay vigilant however, the mission isn’t over until this shit is gone.

So what have we learned today?  Our councilwoman reads her email(

[the entire saga]

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The Residents of the 1300 Block of Harrison Street Need Your Help Maria

burned-house-wreckageSo I was just surfing the net on Saturday and found my way over to Phillyblog.  And there I found a new post by the_town_drunk bringing up the issue of the fire that gutted 1338 Harrison St.  Now I’m jre on there and as you can see I pointed him back to our site where I took pictures of the disgusting mess in the front yard a couple weeks ago.

But you know what occurred to me this morning?  I didn’t do anything else about it.  I shook my head and thought how pathetic it was but went on with my day.  That’s what a lot of Frankford residents do.  Do you know why we get drug and halfway houses?  Because no one complains.  Bustleton gets 500 people to show up when they have a methadone clinic coming to Grant and the boulevard.  But I’ve been to meetings here where the city pols and social service people outnumber residents.  Let’s start to change that, shall we?  But let’s take baby steps.  I’m gonna start with this freaking mess on Harrison Street.  I’m gonna hold someone accountable for this.  I’ve sent this email to councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez( this morning.  We’ll start with her and see where it leads.  I know she reads her email because she talked to my father after he sent her one about the halfway houses at Church and Griscom.  This is what I said:

Councilwoman Sanchez,

I’m a resident of Frankford and the webmaster for the Frankford Gazette news blog(  I’m writing you in regard to 1338 Harrison St.  It looks to have suffered a fire some time ago but it’s wreckage has been sitting in front (what would loosely be referred to as a ) lawn for more than a month.  I drive by it every day.  I have taken pictures of it and posted it on our blog(  As you can see it is an eye sore, and represents a quality of life issue for its surrounding residents.  And we would like this junk removed.

I am emailing you because I think you may be able to spearhead this project.  If I have misunderstood your role in constituent services regarding matters like this, or if I need to contact someone else, please let me know.  But also let me know if you are going to take actions to resolve this quality of life issue for the residents of your district, as I have published this email to you on our site(  I’m considering this an experiment on the role of new media( i.e. local news blogs) and interactions between residents and their politicians.  I will track the progress (or lack there of) of this issue on the blog for the residents of Frankford to see.


She also got my cell phone number.  I also copied her chief of staff Quetcy Lozada(  So now I’m sitting here waiting.  I’ll publish her response.  I think this will be easy to fix, and after it’s done, let’s all tackle something harder.

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