Thankful once again for those who keep us safe

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Every kind of emergency responder for miles around turned out for Tuesday’s fire, the majority of them volunteers.

That doesn’t mean they weren’t as well- trained and capable as anyone who fights fires or responds to emergency calls as a paid profession.

We could hear the calm urgency in their voices over the emergency scanner as they called in all available help to the major home fire on northwest McCook and fires in the surrounding area, as far south as the Heritage Senior Center at West 5th and M.

It was probably a restless night as well as firefighters worked to extinguish the last of the flames, as well as prevent the fires from rekindling — as one Monday proved, reigniting in a brush pile nearly three weeks after it was originally burned.

Regional Editor Connie Jo Disco spent hours at the scene making photos of the firefighting efforts, while updates were posted on the mccookgazette.com website as well as social media, bringing in calls for information and sharing rights from other media from a wide area.

The fire helped us better understand what some of our friends in California have been going through with the dry conditions and fires we have only read about in the news and seen on television.

Most northwest McCook residents were able to return home later in the day Tues- day, but we didn’t find many at designated evacuation centers; we suspect many found shelter with family and friends.

That same neighborliness was evident as a number of local eating establishments sent up pizzas and sandwiches for firefight- ers, and shoppers at Walmart gave cash to someone running an errand to bring back supplies for the meals.

There were reports of injuries and there was extensive loss of property, but we are thankful the fire didn’t strike at night, when it would have been harder to warn people in the path of danger and casualties might have been much higher.

Besides the evacuation, emergency meas- ures were put into place; and, as so often happens, one entity, Community Hospital, had an exercise planned for today — a tabletop drill involving an evacuation.

That exercise will no longer be necessary, but we’re thankful for all emergency crews — paid and volunteer — who spend so many hours honing their craft and working to keep us, their friends and neighbors, safe.

Their training and dedication helped save much more property from being destroyed and many more people from being harmed.

Make an effort to thank them when you get the chance.

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