Let the Fire Burn – Philadelphia

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On May 13, 1985, Philadelphia (the city of brotherly love)  police dropped two pounds of military explosives onto a city row house occupied by the radical group MOVE. The resulting fire was not fought for over an hour although firefighters were on the scene with water cannons in place. In addition, the police had fired 10,000 bullets after they initially ran out of ammunition into the house. Five children and six adults were killed and sixty-one homes were destroyed by the six-alarm blaze, one of the largest in the city’s history. This dramatic tragedy unfolds through an extraordinary visual record previously withheld from the public. It is a graphic illustration of how prejudice, intolerance and fear can lead to unthinkable acts of violence. After a commission was established to investigate the event no public official was ever found guilty of any crime. The city rebuilt the homes which were condemned in 2000 for poor construction after the contractor was imprisoned. This was Philadelphia’s prequel to what happened in Waco, Texas. 

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