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Some former Wilmington officials may be dropped from Canby Park fire lawsuit

Delaware Public Media

A judge has recommended that former Wilmington Mayor Jim Baker and former fire chief William Patrick Jr. be dropped from a federal lawsuit over the 2016 Canby Park fire that killed three firefighters and injured three others. 

The lawsuit filed last year claims those deaths and injuries resulted from understaffing and a fire department policy of rolling bypasses - temporarily taking fire engines and crews out of commission to cut costs.  

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Pat Thynge argued Baker and Patrick were out of office for almost three years at the time of the fire, and were not responsible for the policies at the time.   

The judge decided not to fully grant the motions to dismiss filed by two other former officials named in the lawsuit, former mayor Dennis Williams and former Fire Chief Anthony Goode, who were in office at the time.

In the case, family members of the firefighters who were killed as well as those that survived the incident are hoping to win monetary compensation.

A Wilmington woman pled guilty to intentionally setting the fire last week. 


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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