Philadelphia firefighter, Lieutenant Bill Finegan begins a campaign for LED ladders which is triggered by a tragic incident which took place 24 years ago.
The intense fire took away lives of a 24-year-old mother, her 16-month-old daughter, four-year-old daughter and seriously hurt five others which planted the seeds for the concept of lights on ladders. The humidity was oppressive. Plumes of dark smoke would billow out of the building and quickly settle on the ground obscuring the view. These weather conditions played havoc and proved fatal.
More than 25 years later, those memories still torment Lieutenant Bill Finegan. “The four-year old daughter landed at the base of the building. She died in the dark under one of our ladders,” said Lt. Finegan.
Lieutenant Bill Finegan of the Philadelphia Fire Department said, “That fire changed me. I’ve been basically trying to save her ever since.” It was about 5 a.m. in the morning on September 19, 1994, when Philadelphia firefighter Bill Finegan’s unit was called to an intense fire that was tearing through a row home on Catherine Street.
Finegan, now a Lieutenant, says lights on that ladder would have illuminated the area where the little girl nicknamed Chae Chae was found. Hence after that painful tragedy was born a potentially lifesaving idea of a ladder with integrated LED lights. “If we had it that night we may have been able to find her,” added Lt. Finegan.
Lieutenant Finegan and his business partner Pat Creed have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $145,000 needed for tooling and safety tests. “We have preorders now. We just need to get these things made,” said Lt. Finegan.