The members of Fralinger String Band are amazed and grateful that the warehouse fire which threatened an entire block somehow did not destroy most of the props that figure to be a significant part of their production in the 2013 SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade. Several members expressed to me their gratitude for the Philadelphia Fire Department. This photo shows the Fralinger members who quickly moved the props out of the warehouse the next day, as soon as fire officials said they had a safe few minutes to do so.
The fire started in an auto repair shop adjacent to the area in which Fralinger’s props were housed. Fralinger rented a part of the warehouse for storage and has no relation to the auto business. The collapsed portion is obvious in the photo. Next to that is the section of the warehouse where the props were stored. Lots of water went on it. But, a firefighter explained to me that Fralinger benefited from a great firewall that held and also that where the props were stored was a section that was like a box within a box.
Fralinger had initially feared that its own props were destroyed and opened the Fralinger Fire Fund. It did lose tools, but now with word that 95% of the props are salvageable, mostly water damage that can be repaired, Fralinger says it intends to distribute most of any money raised to the families adversely affected by the fire or by the water damage in fighting it.
Fralinger, of course, won 8 First prizes in a row until a couple of years ago. This year they are going up 17th, last in the String Band Division, and that historically is a strong place to be. The band’s theme this year is a “haunted” theme. Fralinger is determined to succeed and although the fire has put them a couple of days behind schedule, they also pledge to intensify their efforts, for the families affected, for the Mummers community that has offered assistance, such as places to temporarily store props, and because, well, it’s Fralinger. You might be able to take away their props, but you can never take away their professionalism.