Last Saturday I experienced something that I have always feared. While shopping in New Hartford, I received a call from my neighbor telling me that my house was on fire.
Of course, in my mind’s eye I saw my home fully engulfed with flames, and my mind went to my family and pets. I took a deep breath and rushed home, all the while talking with family and neighbors who insisted that things were under control and that emergency workers had arrived and were handling the issue.
Upon my arrival, the street was cordoned off with police, fire and emergency vehicles. The flames had been extinguished and strangers were in and on my home with hoses and equipment, trying to determine the extent of the fire and if, indeed, it was completely out.
I realized with an immense weight lifted off my chest that we had truly dodged a huge bullet and that our home was not destroyed. Everyone was fine. The dogs were excited to see me and the cats were inside and safe. My life was not turned upside down.
The firefighters had saved everything dear to me. These unsung workaday people that we all take for granted were methodically and carefully negotiating our home and taking extreme care not to mess up rugs and even apologized when it became apparent that they were going to need to cut into the roof in order to make sure that the fire was indeed out and would not reignite. Respectful of our home, our pets, and our concerns, the Rome Fire Department became our heroes. Suddenly I don’t feel that our taxes are too high and I understand why the department needs up-to-date equipment and training. I knew these things before, of course, but somehow seeing everything that one holds dear teetering on the edge — gives one a new and profound respect for local government and all of the services that it provides. Here’s a special THANK YOU to these professionals in their shiny red trucks that, 24/7, have our safety and well-being at heart.
— Michael Brown, Rome