Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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A resident’s thoughts after neighborhood fire

To the editor:

I feel compelled to comment on a recent letter thanking fire personnel for a response in Florence. There indeed were three houses involved, all abutting the writer’s, and it was the quick action of firefighters that saved the home closest to the fire — mine.

I was home that day working in my office, as I am a telecommuter, engaged in a conference call, when I heard pounding on my door. I didn’t think it an emergency and took time to wrap up an important business call. I soon learned just what an emergency it was as I was confronted with a bevy of fire trucks, ambulances, police and a fireman telling me to get out of my house because I had a large fire in my yard.

Yes, I did get out of my house quickly — the one my husband and I built over 50 years ago when both of us were young and where we’ve raised four children and welcomed six grandchildren. It is where we’ve hosted more family gatherings than I can count and where for the past several years I’ve spent countless hours and dollars cultivating backyard gardens for enjoyment on summer days and nights.

I too am thankful for the off-duty Easthampton firefighter who called the fire in and for those who saved my house, but not my garden and fencing.

I am also thankful that the apparent carelessness that caused the fire didn’t result in a nighttime fire, when the probability of an observant bystander would have been minimized. And I am thankful that the garden shed containing gasoline and other flammables, although inches from the fire, did not ignite.

Things can be replaced, but people’s lives could have been at risk had this fire ignited with different timing. I’m also thankful for the quick work and professionalism of those who responded that day — but let this be a lesson that careless action can put so much and so many at risk.

Sharon Martula

Florence

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