The Rita's Tragedy
It sounded like a shotgun blast and was equally deadly - an entire ton of rolled-up metal plummeting from the front of a Rita's Water Ice onto the sidewalk of Girard Avenue.
Wynter Larkin was 3 years old. If she had been standing anywhere else in the world at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, even a couple of feet away, she might still be smiling as brightly as in the photo that was circulating yesterday.
Instead, Larkin was crushed by the 2,000-pound security gate after it somehow became dislodged from the building in Brewerytown. The gate was bolted in just below the red-and-white striped Rita's sign with the company slogan: "Ice. Custard. Happiness."
A short life, a long legacy
Rebekah Furey's family would like for this column to be about how she lived, not about the cancer that took her life on June 8.
But it's impossible to write about the one without the other, because Furey, 30, made the world more hopeful for those who fight Hodgkin's's lymphoma.
Passing the baton
Sicily Milligan was 9 years old and by mom Beverley's side at Mount Airy Church of God in Christ when the policeman spoke to their congregation. "He said, 'We're looking for police officers and I'll be standing at the back door when service is over, just handing out applications,'" Beverley Milligan recalled.
Neither mother nor daughter thought much of the policeman's short speech at the pulpit that day, but when they left church, something made Beverley raise her hand and take an application.
Nobody in their family had ever been a cop and as a single mother at 36, Beverley thought she might be too old to join the force.
But today, not only is Beverley Milligan a police officer in the 22nd District, so too is the 9-year-old little girl who was by her side at church that day.
In case of emergency, say a prayer?
Tuesday afternoon would've been a bad time to suffer a heart attack or other medical emergency in Philadelphia.
The city didn't have any ambulances available. Zero.
Peter Crespo, the Fire Department's executive chief, confirmed yesterday that about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, the city's ambulance corps was completely tapped out for about 11 minutes.
"It was just with the temperature, and a large influx of calls that came in," Crespo said. "For some reason, around that time frame there was just a large spike."
"They used to hear her scream"
Tia Ramos used to have nightmares about the little old woman in Feltonville.
Andrea Carrasquillo, 83, lived with her son, William, in a stuffy rowhouse that never welcomed visitors, its secrets hidden behind dusty shades that perpetually covered the windows.
"I would have dreams about him killing her," Ramos, 52, said through a Spanish interpreter. "I begged [William] to let her come live with me. He said no."