2009.08.12 Cathy Williams: Fire department criticism
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