2009.08.12 Cathy Williams: Fire department criticism

Written by David Green.

First, I must convey my condolences and prayers to the family of Jeremy and Zachari Rohr. No words can tell you how sorry we are for your loss. Having been through our own tragedy less than five months ago, we know how much you hurt. Please treasure the memories you have and know you are all in our prayers.

Secondly, Mr. Black, what you did was truly an act of heroism. One which each and every one of us would hope we could duplicate. I am sure your family is very proud of you, as they should be. But we cannot sit by and listen to you make comments about the “100% volunteer” fire department that did their best in a tragic situation.

The families of those men and women have to watch them put their lives on the line each time the call comes in, with no glory or reward. They, too, are very proud of them, as they also should be. But what you and others are saying about this department is like a slap in the face.

These are regular people, your friends and neighbors, who at the pager’s call jump up, no matter what time it is or what they are doing, and try to put to use the training they have received, never knowing what they are going to encounter at any given time—all without any rewards or glory expected. But we, their families and friends, demand respect. Respect not just for them, but for us, also.

There is one woman who had to watch her 24-year-old son enter that burning structure to look for survivors. And remember, 24 volunteers responded to this call that came in at 3:43 in the morning. That is very impressive in its own right. And then, to say it took 40 to 45 minutes for them to arrive? Are you all crazy?

With just the age of that home alone, to burn that long, there would have been nothing left but the basement. I know that for a fact, once you call 911, any time it takes them to arrive seems like forever. But to question which hydrant was used and how they fought this fire, which they, not you nay-sayers, have been trained to do, is ridiculous.

Chad Schisler and the members of the Morenci Fire Department are very brave, upstanding men and women in this community. And I, for one, am very proud to call them family and friends.

– Cathy Williams

Weston Road

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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