Well, that escalated quickly.
Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com is reporting that the Philadelphia Fire Department has launched an internal investigation over those photos we posted of Danny Watkins fighting a four-alarm fire in December, 2012:
After photos surfaced last week of former Eagles offensive lineman Danny Watkins at the scene of a fire in 2012, the Philadelphia Fire Department has launched an internal investigation into whether Watkins violated fire department policy by being at the scene, NJ.com has learned.
Whether Watkins entered the building is not clear.
Philadelphia Fire Chief Peter Crespo told NJ.com that even though Watkins might have signed a waiver, acknowledging the danger, the department is treating the investigation as a “serious” matter.
Crespo also said the department will investigate allegations that Watkins gave firefighters tickets to Eagles games in exchange for being allowed to ride along with them and fight fires. Crespo said the investigation into Watkins’ involvement is expected to take a few weeks.
To me, Watkins carrying a saw and wearing a helmet and oxygen mask make it likely that he entered the building… but all I know about fires is that I can prevent ones of the forest variety (thanks, Smokey!).
Now seems like a good time to mention the unsubstantiated tip I got over the weekend* alleging that Watkins used to fight fires in South Jersey as well. Take that one with a tiny grain of salt, but where there’s smoke, there’s, well, Danny Watkins.
*I read it and have no idea where I filed it. If you’re the person who sent it to me, please send again.
Les Bowen tweeted, somewhat boastfully, that this story was in the Inquirer last year. Perhaps it was. Jeff McLane apparently wrote it and says that, for some reason, it’s no longer available online (got to love Philly.com). The photos, available on NortheastBravest.com, were never published elsewhere. The only previous (media) mention of them I can find is on the Miami Herald’s terrible website. There, a writer cites this tale from the Philadelphia Daily News (Bowen’s paper, not McLane’s):
“That photo on the firefighting site Northeastbravest.com the Inquirer uncovered, of Danny dressed out in full Rescue 1 gear at a Northeast Philly fire last Dec. 16, carrying a motorized saw, is really all you need to know about Danny and passion. His passion was for firefighting, which is what he left idyllic Kelowna, British Columbia, to come to the United States to learn more about. He got sidetracked by football. When somebody tells you that you can win a college scholarship, and then make millions of dollars doing something professionally, you pay attention. But paying attention does not put you on the intensity same level as someone who has spent his life hungry to play the game, living it, breathing it.
The Eagles were off that day in December when Danny toted gear around for his fire department buddies. But less than two months earlier, he had left the starting lineup with an ankle problem, and then he’d lost his starting job to journeyman Jake Scott, signed off the street. You’re a recent No. 1 pick consigned to the bench. Wouldn’t you want to spend every extra minute watching tape, perfecting technique, working in the weight room to get bigger and faster?”
Of course, that original Daily News story is nowhere to be found either. But it apparently completely buried the lede and missed the fact that an NFL player was violating the terms of his contract oh and also the law by fighting what was a four-alarm fire. Newspapers FTW!