The number of buildings that caught fire in Philadelphia over the last two years nearly doubled. But is that because there are more fires? Or is that a consequence of a “by-the-numbers” protocol? Also, city officials are troubled by the impact rising sea levels and climate change might have on Philadelphia International Airport.

In other cities across the country — both big and small — the number of buildings that caught fire have been flat or decreasing. But in Philadelphia, the stats have nearly doubled over the last couple of years. Also, the department’s response times have spiked.

Why? Well, it’s not clear that there actually are more fires. But what is clear is that the department’s commissioner has issued a directive: use national standards when counting emergencies. That wasn’t how the department used to operate.

PHL is spread across what used to be a network of islands in the Delaware River. And, its location is one of Philly’s most vulnerable areas to the combined effects of higher seas and heavier storms, according to city officials. Moving it is not a viable option.

The airport is built on silt and sludge, with much of it in a federally designated flood plain. Over 30 million passengers fly in or out of the airport each year. Plus, 500,000 tons of freight and mail are moved through the airport.

What you need to know today

  • Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and other Democratic presidential candidates made their cases in front of Philadelphia union workers yesterday afternoon. Here’s what they said.
  • The Free Library has a copy of the first collection of Shakespeare plays that experts and curators of early books all over the world say could be one of the most important literary discoveries of our time.
  • Main Line residents are angry over a plan to open a shelter for undocumented migrant children. The shelter would house children ages 5 to 12.
  • Philly airport workers are being made to sign an agreement that forces them to settle disputes out of court (and keep quiet on details) and also bars them from joining any kind of collective action against their company.
  • SEPTA’s natural gas plant in Nicetown has caused a long fight between the transit authority and environmentalists. That fight might get resolved (at least partly) next month.
  • Philadelphia elections officials once showed off new electronic poll books. Now the city says they’re not working right.
  • A Pa. state senator from Lebanon County was arrested yesterday on child pornography possession and other charges involving images found on his cell phone.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Reflections at sunset mean double the sunset. I have no problem with that. Cool picture, @theresa__cannon.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s Interesting


Sackler neighborhood drug dealers
Signe Wilkinson
Sackler neighborhood drug dealers

“But the new allegations about Kavanaugh seem to have touched an especially raw nerve. They have angered just about everybody — on the left and on the right. For pro-Trumpers ... the fear of a world where men can’t mistreat women without it eventually coming back to them is a fear that passes all understanding, with their anxiety over shrinking misogyny much greater than any supposed terror of rising socialism." — columnist Will Bunch writes about the recent allegations against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | 🌶️ SPICE 🌶️

One worked behind a desk in D.C. The other traveled the world working for an oil company. Now, they’ve partnered on a Montco-based hot sauce company and spend their days farming hot peppers.