Video: protests over Gesner Street fire continue outside City Hall
Today, residents of the neighborhood affected by the fatal July 5 fire, including the father of one of the children who perished, were outside City Hall protesting and demanding that Mayor Michael Nutter appear to apologize personally to them.
Lillian Rodriguez, in green, stands in front of her burnt out home after a fire on the 6500 block of Gesner St. in Southwest Philadelphia that killed four children and made 42 people homeless. Credit: Charles Mostoller/Metro
Watch Patrick Sanyeah, whose 4-year-old son Patrick died in the fire, tells police watching the protest that he wants an apology, below.
"He can go on TV and he can say I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm with y'all, I'm a leader. He the mayor of Philadelphia. You a leader, get on the TV and say I'm sorry, I'm wit' ch'all I'll be wit' ch'all I'll cry with y'all," Sanyeah can be heard saying.
Four children died in the fire on the 6500 block of Gesner Street. The cause and origin of the fire are under investigation, but neighbors believe fireworks from Fourth of July celebrations sparked the blaze, which tore through eight rowhomes and displaced 42 residents.
On Tuesday, Fire Department officials released 911 calls and GPS records showing that firefighters responded to the fire within minutes of the first call, in part to quell rumors in the neighborhood that firefighters did not arrive for 30 minutes after the fire began.
The neighborhood is mostly populated by West African immigrants, specifically Liberians. The Liberian ambassador to the United States met with City Council leaders and members of the community affected by the fire this morning inside City Hall.