President Joe Biden on Monday called the head of Philadelphia’s fire union to discuss last week’s fatal blaze in Fairmount where nine children and three adults from the same family died.

Mike Bresnan, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22, said he discussed his members’ response to the fire during the six-minute phone call with the president, including describing the efforts of one young firefighter who held the nozzle of the hose and battled the blaze, even as his air tank depleted.

He said he also conveyed that the Fire Department plans to seek federal funds to reopen three fire companies that were closed amid budget cuts more than a decade ago, including one that was about a mile from the Fairmount rowhouse that burned.

“I said, ‘This city supported you greatly, and you know safety is important,’” Bresnan recalled. He said the president responded positively but did not make a firm commitment.

A White House official confirmed the call took place Monday night. Administration officials were in touch with city leaders the day of the fire, and the White House connected again with members of Mayor Jim Kenney’s team this week, according to a Biden administration aide.

» READ MORE: After Fairmount fire, so many what-ifs remain | Jenice Armstrong

Bresnan said his conversation was orchestrated by the International Association of Fire Fighters, which has been one of the president’s strongest supporters and was the first union to endorse him in April 2019 after he joined the Democratic primary. The international union didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Even before the Scranton-born Biden officially entered the race, the firefighters had pledged their support, with hundreds chanting “Run, Joe, Run” during a speech at the union’s convention in Washington in March 2019.

“I look around this room, I see the people who built this nation,” Biden said at the time.

His support from firefighters in the city has been more complicated. A contingent of Local 22 members was stunned in 2020 when Bresnan announced the union would buck the international and endorse former President Donald Trump for reelection. The membership was divided over the announcement, and the former president of the international union said at the time that the process was botched.

The endorsement of Trump didn’t come up during the call with Biden, Bresnan said, calling the president a “real good guy.” He said Biden assured him that if the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t ongoing, he’d bring the firefighters to the White House for a visit.

Bresnan said he hopes the brief conversation will lead to support from the administration to help fund the reopening of three closed fire companies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided a $16.6 million grant to the city in 2019, which allowed the city to hire more than 100 new firefighters and reopen four of the seven firehouses that had closed during the Great Recession.

Fire Department spokesperson Kathy Matheson said the deadline to apply for a grant from the same pot of funding is in February and the agency is still putting together its application. She said it has not settled on an amount.

City leaders have vowed for years that they would continue to seek funding to reopen the three companies, including Ladder 1, formerly at 16th and Parrish Streets in North Philadelphia. The company would have been about one mile from the scene of the fire on the 800 block of North 23rd Street, roughly the same distance as Engine 34, which is also based in North Philadelphia and arrived on scene within five minutes of the initial 911 calls.

Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said during a news conference Tuesday that the fire, which investigators believe began when a 5-year-old accidentally lit a Christmas tree aflame, spread from the tree on the second floor into the third floor within three minutes. A dozen people — three adult sisters and nine of their children — were on the third floor and died of smoke inhalation.

Reopening the companies has been a top priority for Thiel and Kenney, whose father was a firefighter. The two other companies that remain shuttered were in Port Richmond and South Philadelphia.

“A big part of my journey was this quest to restore these companies that are absolutely, 100% — based on the data, based on the evidence — needed,” Thiel said in 2019. “They never should have been closed in the first place.”

Inquirer columnist Jenice Armstrong contributed to this article.