By Mike Ullery
A tragedy of sorts occurred in Piqua this past week. The bike path bridge over the Great Miami River burned — again.
the grand scheme of things, the fire was sad, disheartening and will
again cost money out of taxpayer’s pockets to repair, but I would not
call it a tragedy. The tragedy in this case was the attitude and remarks
made by a few pathetic citizens regarding the fire department’s
response to the fire.
Within hours of the fire, some Facebook
folks were making derogatory remarks, claiming that the fire department
took 20 minutes to respond to the blaze. Some questioned the amount of
time that it took to actually begin to put water on the fire.
was appalled that people actually have the nerve to question a group of
dedicated professionals who, many times, are all that stand between
citizens and their very life … or death. They unquestionably accept the
risk to their own safety, in order to preserve life and property, yet we
have local citizens with the nerve to not only question firefighter’s
actions, but to embellish and possibly even lie to make themselves look
“big” or “important.”
The bottom line is that our fire department
was dispatched to a fire on the bridge and responded in a timely manner.
There was no delay. What would they be doing to delay a response
anyway? Do some folks think that firefighters are waiting on a re-run of
“Emergency” to end before leaving the station?
People also need
to realize that to even reach this fire, firefighters had to go more
than half-way across the 530 foot span. They also had to get hoses and
equipment to that location. There were also two long flights of steps to
be climbed … before reaching the start of the bridge.
firefighters reached the location of the blaze, the fact that the fire
was burning under the floorboards and whipped by a stiff wind made the
bridge a very dangerous place to be. Flames would pop-up at random
places. At any time, a firefighter could have been cut off from a safe
Those were just some of the factors that had to be
weighed while water lines were stretched, and added-to, then charged to
keep flames at bey, then shut-down and additional sections of line
added, then re-charged. All of this was accomplished with the
thermometer sitting around 92 degrees Fahrenheit.
Working a fire
scene such as that one, does take time. To a bystander, I am sure that
time seems to crawl. To the firefighter on the scene using every ounce
of strength and energy to haul sections of line over the length of a
football field, time seems to fly. They do know that seconds count.
it should also be mentioned that when this fire call came in, the Piqua
Fire Department already had two medic units out on runs. That means
that five personnel were out on other runs, protecting and saving the
lives of other Piqua citizens.
Firefighters responded with
everything they had, given the manpower constraints they must constantly
struggle with. In spite of all of that, I do not recall hearing one
gripe as these professionals worked to bring the very stubborn and
persistent fire under control on one of the hottest days of the summer.
can say all of the above with great certainty. I was on the bridge with
the firefighters last Tuesday. I mention that because the rude and
vocal minority who claim that they were also watching the event unfold,
did so from blocks away, if they actually saw anything, as they claim.
of Piqua are blessed to have firefighters and police officers who are
highly trained professionals. I can also say that to a man, or woman,
they are also fine individuals. They have families, just as we do. How
do you think that your children would feel if someone made disparaging
and unfounded remarks about you?
These men and women put it all on the line for us. How about showing them the respect they deserve?