Untitled (Fire Spreads Down Osage Avenue)
The fire that resulted from the bombing
The fire soon spread to surrounding rowhouses, which quickly spread to cover the entire block. Firefighters were not sent to fight the flames. There are conflicting reports about whether or not Commissioner Sambor or Mayor Goode said to "let the fire burn". In the aftermath, the official word was that there was fear that MOVE members might shoot at firefighters, like they had in the 1978 confrontation. There was also some thought given to using the fire as a tactic. Commissioners Richmond and Sambor later testified that they believed letting the bunker burn would force MOVE members out of the compound and on to the street. Sambor asked Richmond if the fire could be contained if it was allowed to burn. Richmond said he thought so at first, but it soon became clear that the fire was spreading quickly down the block, and no MOVE members immediately came out.
Lindsay Norward, "The Day Philadelphia Bombed Its Own People"
Associated Press/Vox Media
May 13, 1985
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