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.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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