Remarkable hearing, 16th floor, mid-evacuation

22Feb11

Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission hears citizen testimony during fire-alarm evacuation Feb. 21, 2011.
Phila. Police Advisory Commission during evacuation, 16th floor, MSB, 2/21/11.In the most unlikely of hearing venues, members and staff of the Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission pause during a fire-alarm evacuation at the Municipal Services Building on Monday evening (2/21/11) to hear Tim Cwiek (left), a Philadelphia Gay News reporter, make a statement on a case pending before the commission. The monthly meeting of the civilian oversight panel was being held in a 16th-floor meeting room when it was interrupted just before the public-comment portion by a fire alarm, including a siren and a broadcast instruction to assemble at an exit area and await further instructions.  While waiting near a 16th-floor stairway exit, Cwiek convinced the commission to hear his comments. The commission agreed, and for about 15 minutes listened to Cwiek as the siren and broadcast warning to await instructions periodically sounded.  After a closing dialogue between Cwiek and commission members (click inset), they all agreed it was time to go, and everyone walked down the 16 flights, reaching the outside plaza just before 8 p.m.    There was no obvious sign of fire in the building, which was largely empty on the Presidents Day holiday. (The case about which Cwiek spoke.)

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