President Joe Biden on Monday again repeated an exaggerated story about his Delaware home catching on fire, as he appeared at a Philadelphia fire station that was able to reopen thanks to a $22.4 million federal grant.
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The president kicked off his appearance by crediting his local fire company in Wilmington, Delaware for getting him through a snowstorm and to the hospital when he suffered a cranial aneurysm in 1988.
Biden told the crowd gathered at Philadelphia’s Ladder 1 that he had ‘an admission and full disclosure’ that firefighters had saved his life.
‘They also saved my home and my wife’s life,’ the president said, retelling a story that fact-checkers have raised eyebrows at. ‘And my wife was there and my dog and my cat and my ’67 Corvette, but all kidding aside, they saved my wife, they got her out, saved my home.’
The president recounted how lightning had struck a pond behind his Wilmington home, hit a wire and traveled up three stories.
President Joe Biden again told an exaggerated story about how firefighters saved his wife’s life during a 2004 Delaware house fire. News reports from that time say there were no injuries and the fire was contained to one room
The Bidens’ Wilmington, Delaware home caught fire in 2004 after lightning struck the pond behind it and lit a wire that went up the side of the house, the president said Monday. Fact-checkers have previously called him out for inflating this story
‘And the smoke literally ended up being that thick, literally that thick, you’ve seen, you guys have seen it,’ Biden said.
News accounts from the 2004 fire noted that there were ‘no injuries and firefighters kept the fire contained to one room,’ according to the Wilmington News Journal.
The story did say that ‘firefighters from Cranston Heights, Talleyville, Elsmere, Mill Creek and Hockessin fire companies arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the house.’
In August, The Washington Post reported that Biden had told the house fire story at least six times as president, including to victims of the Maui wildfires earlier that month.
On Monday, the president also claimed that Republican President Ronald Reagan was going to loan him Marine One so that he could be flown to Walter Reed during his aneurysm scare but the blizzard prevented that.
‘It was in the middle of a snowstorm. Not a joke. I couldn’t figure out how – President Reagan was nice enough to send Air Force … helicopter One, to take me down but we couldn’t fly,’ Biden recalled, noting how his local fire company transported him instead.
The president was serving in the U.S. Senate at the time.
At Monday’s event, Biden again commended the firefighters in the room by telling them that they’re ‘crazy’ people.
President Joe Biden was in Philadelphia Monday after a $22.4 million grant was used to reopen Ladder 1, which would have been the closest fire station had it been operational to serve the Fairmount neighborhood where 12 were killed in a deadly January 2022 house fire
‘You’re all crazy, you’re all crazy, I love you for it,’ the president said. ‘All my friends either became cops, firefighters or priests, and here I am,’ he said to laughs.
The president then recalled the January 2022 blaze that killed 12 in Philadelphia’s Fairmount neighborhood, including nine children.
A Christmas tree in the row house, which had been converted to apartments, caught fire.
‘If the company hadn’t been decommissioned, Ladder One would have been the closest truck to the fire,’ Biden said.’God only knows whether they would have been able to get there that much earlier to save lives, would have responded and maybe saved some lives.’
‘And starting today for the first time in nearly 15 years, this neighborhood once again has a ladder company on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year ready to keep them safe,’ Biden said. ‘I kept my promise and got the job done.’
Two additional Philadelphia stations, Engine 6 and Ladder 11, will also be reopened using the SAFER Grant award dollars.
The dollars will be used to pay firefighters’ salaries and benefits.
‘I think the most frightening anybody could do is run into a fire,’ the president also offered. ‘Almost anything else is less consequential.’