Tuesday, June 17, 2014

South Street West Civic Association Newsletter

Date: June 17, 2014 at 11:04:18 AM EDT
To: <sswcivica@gmail.com>
Subject: FW: CHOP neighborhood advisory group / fire report for 2300 block of Naudain / water main break hearing at 21 & Bainbridge/ Zoning for 2143 Lombard

REPS for CHOP Neighborhood Advisory Group
We have one board member, Peg Kendrick and one near neighbor, John Fischer, who will be representing near neighbors’ interests at a neighborhood advisory group. Peg has lived near the Toll construction, so she understands the issues that can arise during construction and help anticipate issues. You can alert us to issues via sswcivica@gmail.com
John Fischer is a near neighbor. Most of you living within a block or two know him. He lives on 27th.
We do all stay in touch, and Keisha, Mayva or I can provide backup as needed. We will let you know what processes are in place to let you know about construction, plans that might affect you, contact numbers, etc. Naval Square’s Resident’s Association, SOSNA, CCRA & SSWBA have also been included
Report on 23RD/NAUDAIN Explosion (from CCRA newsletter)
100 people attended a second public meeting convened by City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson regarding the May 1 explosion on the 2300 block of Naudain.  

Representatives from the Fire Marshal's office reported  that
(1)  a PECO electrical wire had faulted at 2300 Naudain but that
(2) the  point of origin for the fire/explosion was not at the 2300 location and that
(3) the  office could not determine the ignition source of that explosion or what ignited.

Readings taken by Fire Department before the explosion showed carbon monoxide levels of 2000 parts per million, the highest reading  their instruments could measure.  However, according to PECO's representatives, the level for carbon monoxide required for combustion is more than 60 times those readings.

In response to questions from the audience, the Fire Marshal advised that  PECO's lines were only deenergized approximately three and a half  hours after Fire Department personnel notified PECO of possible electrical involvement. Neither PECO nor the Fire Marshall could inform the audience when PECO's representatives first arrived on the scene. A Philadelphia Gas Works representative stated that although readings taken at the scene showed the presence of methane gas, the gas detected had neither the molecular blueprint nor the odor of gas delivered via PGW lines. PGW's workers at the scene found no detectable natural gas in the building that exploded and were the last ones in that building before the explosion. PECO representative Ed Mc Bride reported that PECO had retained independent experts whose reports  concluded that the PECO line fault at 2300 Naudain did not cause the explosion at 2310. McBride refused to deliver the reports to the public.

PLEASE put a carbon monoxide detector in your home. It is what saved the people on this block, as they were evacuated prior to the explosion. If it goes off, leave your home and call 911.

Water Main Break Hearing re 21st & Bainbridge
Those of you near 21st Street know that this intersection collapsed in July 2012 from a 40 inch water main break. Because there were more than 90 homes & businesses damaged, losses exceeded the state liability cap of $500,000 per incident (that cap is for all parties involved, not each party). In addition, PECO filed a claim for over $800,000. Right now a judge is determining how the $500,000 will be allocated. There are 96 claims, totaling $1,834,089.61. Despite requests from all our representatives, PECO will not withdraw its claim. While some claims are small, those properties close to the intersection have losses of $30K, $50K, $70K. A public hearing on June 6th at City Hall did not sway PECO.

Senator Farnese and Representative Sims have been trying to update the state law going forward with a higher dollar limit. They have not made progress getting it on the agenda to date. One neighbor proposed that perhaps the city set up a law of its own.

There is an article about this on Philly.com.  http://articles.philly.com/2014-04-13/news/49082674_1_business-owners-massive-water-main-break-peco There is little those of us in the area can tell you to protect yourselves. Your homeowner’s insurance does not cover this. Note that the damages generally were to foundation walls, basic appliances like washing machines, furnaces, water heaters, electric boxes, the first floor of homes nearest the intersection and personal property stored in basements or finished basements .You can possibly buy flood insurance – a policy for property damage and a policy for personal property. It is not clear that would pay in this situation, so be very clear with an agent should you choose to do so. However, that will not help in a gas main problem. We would ask you to contact Kenyatta Johnson, Senator Farnese and Representative Sims to see if they can find a solution for these large infrastructure damage problems where the city is liable. Even an extraordinary event fund would help.

Prealert – Zoning for 2143 Lombard
The owner of 2143 Lombard is proposing plans to convert the parking lot to homes. This is the corner of 22nd and Lombard. As of today, the community meeting is likely to be at the July CCRA meeting as the owner is currently revising plans from 4 to 3 homes. They will be unlikely to have a refusal and be ready to be heard next week. We will let you know of the meeting so you can attend.

Barb & Peg

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