PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Think you saw a giant dinosaur during your morning commute on Wednesday? Your eyes didn’t play a trick on you, a 40-foot-long dinosaur was on the move this morning, traveling from New Jersey all the way to Philadelphia.
The Spinosaurus made the trip by truck from Somerdale, New Jersey, across the Ben Franklin Bridge, through Center City, Philadelphia, to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University at 19th and the Parkway.
The dinosaur is one of two dinos to be installed in front of the museum as part of the new “Dinosaurs Around the World” exhibit.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As officials continue to search for the cause of Friday’s massive explosion at a South Philadelphia refinery, new reports say Philadelphia Energy Solutions will seek to permanently shut down the refinery.
The news of PES’s potential refinery closure comes on the heels of an investigation launched Monday. The city’s fire marshal’s office joined federal investigators from OSHA, the ATF and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board to look into the cause of Friday’s fire and explosions. Sources say that investigation could take months or even years given the instability of the structures that need to be examined.
“We still have a pretty large, operational footprint down there in the fire department, our hazmat task force is 24-7, 365,” Philadelphia Fire Department Commissioner Adam Thiel said.
Around 4 a.m. Friday, cell phone video captured a huge fireball exploding into the sky above the refinery. PES later confirmed the fire started in a unit used to create a component for high octane gas. It was finally extinguished Saturday afternoon after raging for more than 24 hours.
In a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Jim Kenney addressed air quality concerns in the aftermath of the fire.
“Philadelphia Fire Department hazmat unit and the city’s department of public health continues to monitor the air quality around the refinery, there are no findings that would suggest a threat to public health as a result of the fire,” Kenney said on Tuesday.
Despite repeated assurances of the air quality from city and company officials. Protesters showed up outside the PES refinery Tuesday, demanding accountability after two fires there in the past few weeks. They also called for the refinery to be shut down for health and safety reasons.
Sources with knowledge of the company’s plans tell Reuters these protestors may soon get their wish.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia city leaders released a progress report Wednesday morning detailing costly efforts to stabilize what is the city’s ground zero of the opioid epidemic: the Kensington and Fairhill sections of the city.
“Between the death rate, the quality of life issues that have come with it and all that the epicenter is in Kensington and Fairhill and the challenge is that the people who are living there are facing on a day-to-day basis, not just when we started this back in October, but today, are tremendous,” Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.
The stepped-up emergency response is called the Philadelphia Resilience Project. To date, the city has uprooted two massive encampments, removed 600 abandoned cars, picked up 25,000 needles and collected 400 tons of trash.
Fatal overdoses in the area are down 8% in 2018 officials say is the result of the response. But most pressing continue to be the death rate and quality of life in Kensington and Fairhill.
“The opioid crisis is probably the worst health crisis certainly this generation has ever seen,” Abernathy said.
Mayor Jim Kenney will sign an executive order extending the Philadelphia Resilience Project extending it through Dec. 31.
PINE HILL, N.J. (CBS) — A South Jersey community is outraged after a popular playground was torched and destroyed. Police are offering a reward to find whoever set the playground at the Pine Hill recreation center on fire.
All that remains of the playground is a swing. As investigators work to figure out how this fire started, kids are left with just the rubble.
“This is really a quiet neighborhood so I’m sure whoever burned it down had nothing else better to do,” Pine Hill resident Skylar Gordon said.
Early Saturday morning, flames lit up the sky on South Club Road in Pine Hill. Now police are working to track down whoever is responsible for this playground fire.
“Right now we’re investigating this as a suspicious fire. We’re hoping to get information from the community. Anybody with information, we’re asking to come forward. Anybody with like Ring cameras,” Pine Hill Police Department Lt. Christopher Witts.
The fire caused about $75,000 dollars worth of damage to the Charles Bowen Recreational Complex. To make matters worse, the playground was only three years old.
“Big hit to the community, especially because it’s recently purchased and upgraded so it definitely hurts,” Witts said.
Nearby residents tell us they’re still in disbelief.
“I was shocked because you usually don’t see something like this over here. It’s usually a quiet neighborhood,” Pine Hill resident Sheila Worrell said.
“Before there used to be a whole bunch of people here, like families picnicking. It’s just kind of sad to see it now,” Tony Worrell said.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A grass-roots effort is underway to save a shopping center beloved by many people of Southeast Asian descent. It’s located at 16th and Washington in South Philadelphia and it could be replaced by luxury homes and condos.
The shopping center is known in Vietnamese, as Peace Plaza, and is anchored by the Big 8 Supermarket. It’s the first Southeast Asian shopping center to open in all of the Tri-State Area.
“You have people that have been coming here for years, I’m sure,” said. “They are like my family members, because we at least see each other at least 2 or three times a week,” one store owner said.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police are searching for the person responsible for a double shooting in the city’s Bella Vista section. Officials say shots erupted just before 7 p.m. Tuesday at a park on 10th and Fitzwater Streets.
According to police, the victims were two men, both in their 20s.
A 20-year-old man was shot once in the right thigh and a 27-year-old man was shot under the right arm.
Both men are at local area hospitals where they both are in stable conditions.
So far no arrests have been made in connection to the shooting as police continue to investigate.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police are searching for a suspect in connection to a theft at a Center City Starbucks. The theft happened on June 19 around 6:30 a.m. inside the Starbucks on the 100 block of N. Broad Street.
credit: Philadelphia Police
Investigators say the man took a green Starbucks money back that was filled with about $150 off of the counter.
After taking the money the suspect fled the store and was last seen heading south on Broad Street.
He is said to be around 30 years old, 5-foot-10 and was wearing a white and gray plaid shirt and blue jeans.
Police say if you see this suspect do not approach him, contact 911 immediately.
WARMINSTER, Pa. (CBS) — Warminster Police are asking for the public’s help in locating a suspect wanted in a series of armed robberies over the past week. This is the suspect — 23-year-old Joseph Wolfgang Trout.
Police say he displayed a box cutter in four separate robberies at three gas stations and a convenience store. Each time, he demanded Newport cigarettes.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police are cracking down in a new way to combat the surge in gun violence. The crackdown comes after a pair of shootings on the same South Philadelphia street, just hours apart.
Law enforcement and city agencies are ratcheting up pressure on alleged nuisance businesses, as Philadelphia grips with another night of life-taking violence.
“The violations were such that we cannot, it’s a health risk and the violations cause us to take control and seize the property for now, until the violations are repaired,” Staff Inspector Joseph Balogna said.
In a separate shooting in South Philadelphia on Monday night, chilling screams pierced the air after two people were killed near 21st Street and Point Breeze Avenue. Tamika Walker was one of the victims.
Her family and friends say she was a doting grandmother. Walker and two other neighbors were struck by gunfire.
A fourth victim was shot and killed around the block.
“She was a remarkable woman, this is devastating, and the family is devastated. My child’s mom, that’s all she had was her mom, that was her best friend. She’s gone now, over nothing,” Rafael Thomas said.
At least some of the businesses shuttered on Tuesday will be able to reopen as their violations move through the court system.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fire crews are battling a large blaze in a building that houses a laundromat and pharmacy in Juniata Park Tuesday afternoon. The two-alarm blaze is on the corner of Castor and Erie Avenues.
Chopper 3 was over the fire, where large flames and heavy smoke could be seen bursting through the roof.
Officials say the fire department was called to the area just after 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. The fire quickly was raised to a second alarm at 4:24 p.m.
There is no word at this time on what sparked the fire. There have been no reports of any injuries at this time.
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 28-year-old man has been arrested for a sexual assault that took place Monday on the 4600 block of Umbria Street in Roxborough. Police say Michael Kaufman was arrested on the block around 7 p.m. Monday night.
Kaufman is facing a litany of charges, including rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and corruption of a minor, among others.
The appeal Tuesday comes after Pennsylvania Judge Steven O’Neill in a post-trial memo said their testimony showed “chilling similarities” that pointed to a “signature” crime.
“On this date, one of our Great American Treasures [Bill Cosby]…was finally awarded the opportunity to file his appeal with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. This filing is an important step in ensuring that Mr. Cosby receives a hearing from a fair and impartial court. The Constitution guarantees that right to Mr. Cosby—and to all Americans—and he looks forward to securing justice in the court of appeal,” Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said in a statement.
The 81-year-old Cosby has been serving a three- to 10-year prison term since September at a state prison near Philadelphia.
The appeal also challenges O’Neill’s decisions to air Cosby’s prior deposition testimony about Quaalude use and to preside despite an alleged feud with a pretrial witness.