Thirty years ago this month, the previously unthinkable happened: Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode ordered the fire-bombing of his own consituents.
A Pennsylvania State Police helicopter dropped two one-pound bombs, made of FBI-supplied water gel explosive, a dynamite substitute, targeting a fortified, bunker-like cubicle on the roof of a West Philadelphia townhouse. This caused a raging fire, which spread, destroying 65 nearby homes and killing 11.
Police were responding to a standoff with an anarcho-primitivist black nationalist organization called MOVE, whose backyard disposal of human waste and round-the-clock bullhorn demonstrations had angered neighbors.
Allegedly fearing for their lives, firefighters allowed the bombs’ ensuing fire to spread.
‘Let The Fire Burn’ shows interviews with angry police officials, while MOVE members say police shot at them as they tried to flee their burning building.