The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly of the Times
Post-Industrial decline has it’s many faces. Here are some pictures that represent 3 of the looks. The “Nipper” building photo shows the tower of a former radio and phonograph manufacturing building that was “cleaned up” and converted into rental apartments. It took a lot of public money to provide the incentives to entice a private developer to come in and invest. Long story, short… you won’t be seeing any more of these projects any more in older urban areas. The money has run dry and real estate projects are pretty much dead in the water now. So the only thing left for these old industrial sites or “brownfields” is to hang around with no one paying taxes on them. Now “the fires” have begun. Seen this before. Replay of the 70’s.
If you’ve seen it all before and think that it can’t get any worse, here we go… how about hydrants stripped for the brass. Bad enough engine companies are closed so there is a delay in water supply, add pulling up to wrap and connect a hydrant and SURPRISE! Busted hydrant. Delay in water supply. Dial up the alarms to the box now since company closings have taken any nearby reserves (aka ‘the fat’) out of the picture. When it’s all said and done, after the politicians and the PIOs have voiced their outrage, your job is to step up your 6 Ps (PRIOR PLANNING PREVENTS PISS-POOR PERFORMANCE). In the end, we are the professionals here. We have to make it work somehow.
The row of homes picture shows some of the 23 buildings that burned during a 12-alarm and simultaneous 2-alarm fire in June. The fire started in an old industrial building during a 97◦F day. In the end, bad hydrants, bad luck, closed companies, etc, and we have a lot of families displaced. This building fire was followed by a couple more muli-alarm fires at former industrial buildings. What’s lost in all this is that some of these buildings are in stages of Super Fund cleanup. So while the firefighters are exposed to the unknown, our health plans are being degraded. And men are worried about being thrown off the job with no future health coverage. These are tough conditions to run a public safety agency, let alone run it more efficient and obtain buy-in from the troops for any departmental structural reengineering. Alright Chief, make it work. That’s why you get paid the big bucks.