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June 27, 2018

Philly Fire Department: Cleaning poop from your stoop is not our duty

Last Friday's unusual incident in Northern Liberties raised some uncomfortable questions

Odd News Poop
Poop on the stoop Google Maps/Street View

Pictured above is the stoop that residents say an intoxicated woman pooped on during a crazy afternoon on Friday, June 22, 2018.

Earlier this week, a Northern Liberties resident shared the unfortunate tale of her stoop being pooped upon by an intoxicated woman during an unusual Friday afternoon incident.

At that time, we noted that we would share updates as they became available. Well, there are some updates regarding the messy case that left Stacey Lasky and neighbors on unexpected clean-up duty.

These updates come a day after a protester was arrested for “throwing what appeared to be a large quantity of chicken dung” at the Virginia restaurant that asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave. (The protester allegedly yelled "Make America Great Again" as he made that fateful toss.)

That incident warrants mention solely because of the video footage of a fire truck (and personnel) arriving on scene to clean up the mess on the sidewalk outside Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington, Virginia.

In the Philadelphia incident – much to the residents’ dismay – first responders did not help clean the poop from their stoop, a situation with which many readers did not empathize. (Do you really expect firefighters or medics to take on such a task in the course of their life-protecting day, went the critics’ thinking.)

On Wednesday morning, Capt. William Dixon of the Philadelphia Fire Department explained that there is no formal, written policy regarding such situations.

Standard operating procedure, however, holds that remnants at response scenes that could be harmful to the public do get attention. The public-vs.-private property dynamic comes into play, as well.

“With something like an oil spill on a street, we will put a substance down, Oil-Dri, so the street doesn’t become slick and dangerous,” Dixon said, noting that first responders also do their best to clean up any messes they make. “Their primary concern is getting people the medical attention they need.”

A former medic also noted that he’s seen fire engines called to particularly gruesome scenes (i.e., a lot of blood on a street or sidewalk) to hose them down. (“No,” he said, “I definitely would not have cleaned that up.”)

All of which is to say that Philadelphia first responders will clean up situations that present a potential safety threat to the general public, but situations like human excrement on private property does not rise to that level.

Also, numerous tipsters reached out to PhillyVoice and they all shared the same name as that of the alleged pooper.

Since she has not been charged criminally, we will not be making that name public.

But neighborhood whispers that the case could become “scandalous” did hold true as the woman works in a City of Philadelphia department often in the public eye.

Co-workers shared that it was the talk of that office this week (including a meeting between the woman and her supervisor that may have been related to Friday's incident), and that “photos not publishable in any reputable publication” exist.

Other tipsters wondered whether she used her position to avoid punishment in the case. (“Nah, that didn’t happen” said one police officer. “What would we lock her up for? Public intoxication?”)

We will not pursue those photos and, hopefully, this is the last update in the stoop-poop saga.