Firefighter Patrick Nally already has been through hell and back, but he’s still got a lifetime of work ahead of him, his colleagues say.
Nally, 26, suffered two fractured vertebrae, a fractured pelvis, a pulmonary edema and a crushed right ankle when a warehouse wall collapsed on him and three colleagues at a Kensington fire scene on April 8.
Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter Daniel Sweeney perished in the disaster. Firefighter Fran Cheney was injured but returned to work at Ladder 10 within a month.
During the monthly meeting of the East Torresdale Civic Association on May 14, members of Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters announced plans for a fund-raiser to benefit Nally and the families of fallen firefighters.
It will be on Saturday, June 23, at Maggie’s Waterfront Café, 9242 N. Delaware Ave., a venue known for hosting many block party-style charitable fund-raisers in recent years.
In light of past complaints of loud music, excess traffic, litter and disorderly behavior from patrons, organizers of the Nally event want to make sure neighbors are comfortable with the plans.
Ultimately, the ETCA voted unanimously to approve the block party under certain parameters.
“I hope you and whoever is planning it, you could all visualize, ‘What if this was happening on my block?’” ETCA president Lew Halas said to Local 22 member Anthony Dello Russo. “If you do that, I think you’ll handle it [right].”
Dello Russo said that the party would last from 2 to 6 p.m. and vowed that all outside music would be silenced no later than 6. In the past, neighbors have complained about Maggie’s fund-raisers continuing into the late evening.
Dello Russo also said that organizers will install at least 50 “port-a-pots” on the 9200 and 9300 blocks of Delaware Ave., while hiring a security detail to prevent patrons from urinating in public and littering.
Traffic will be managed by a shuttle bus service, Dello Russo said. Patrons will be encouraged to park at the Philadelphia Fire Academy on State Road, then shuttled to the block party.
Of course, there may be little organizers can do to prevent patrons from driving into the residential neighborhood near the venue and parking on already-cramped side streets.
After the event, volunteers will pick up the trash, then the streets will be cleaned.
Dello Russo hopes that the spirit of the cause will outweigh any temporary inconveniences for neighbors.
Nally has a house in West Mayfair but is staying with his parents in East Torresdale because of his immobility. He is wheelchair bound and facing many surgeries to reconstruct his ankle. He left the house for the first time a couple of days before the civic meeting.
“Hopefully, because of his youth, he’ll be recovering from these injuries. In addition, he was planning to get married in July this year,” Dello Russo said. “And he probably will in a wheelchair.”
The Injured Firefighter Patrick Nally Fund is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit entity.
“We don’t want just your approval,” Dello Russo told neighbors. “We want you to be involved and, hopefully, attend.”
The next East Torresdale Civic Association meeting will be on Monday, June 11, at 7 p.m., at Liberty Evangelical Free Church, Linden Avenue and Milnor Street. ••