• 55°

Appreciate local firefighters’ efforts

Much of the nation has cried along with the community of Worcester, Mass.

Wednesday, December 15, 1999

Much of the nation has cried along with the community of Worcester, Mass., as they mourned the loss of six heroes – firefighters lost in a deadly warehouse blaze.

These men risked their lives to make sure that there were no homeless people left in the building as it was engulfed by flames, but became victims themselves when they were unable to find their way back to safety.

Thousands of firefighters and a grateful community gathered to say goodbye to those brave men, who left behind 17 children.

Lawrence County has been fortunate. It has been many years since this area lost a firefighter. But watching the services, stories and tragedy of the Worcester fire should make us all think a little bit longer about the men and women who volunteer their time to protect their community from the ravages of fire.

Because flames have not touched most of our lives, we don’t always understand the risk these people face day in and day out. So many fires end with no loss of life – on the part of victim or the rescuer – that we don’t realize the potential for a tragedy.

And many of us also wait until it is too late to say thank you to not only the volunteers, but their families.

The tribute paid to the Worcester firefighters was heart-rending. Let’s appreciate our own firefighters, before we have to cry at a memorial.