US cities face up to massive cuts…(The Failure Of Socialism Continues…)
US outrage over public service cutbacks across America has found a rallying point in the death of 12-year-old Frank Marasco
Friday 13 August 2010
Flanked by two silver balloons bearing the words “I love you‚” and a forlorn blue cuddly toy, the face of 12-year-old Frank Marasco smiles out from a collage of pictures assembled by shocked neighbours on the veranda of his burned-out home. The young autistic boy died in a fire last week thought to have been sparked by a discarded cigarette.
The inferno should have been a routine job for Philadelphia’s 1,900-strong fire brigade, the fifth biggest force in the US which handles four major incidents daily. But the nearest fire station to Frank’s house, just two blocks away, was unavailable after a so-called “brown out”. Firemen at the station, barely 90 seconds’ walk from the site of the fire, were on a maintenance run after a 12-hour shutdown, part of a rota of rolling daily closures imposed by city authorities grappling with a wrenching deficit of $2.4bn (£1.5bn) over five years.
“Everybody was running around trying to get the little boy out – he was stuck on the second floor,” said a distraught neighbour, Virginia DeShields, whose house was damaged by smoke. She believes the boy might have been saved if the local firehouse had been open: “It’s all right if you want to cut. But you shouldn’t cut where lives are concerned. You can cut the prison system, cut the libraries, anywhere. But don’t cut people who save lives.”