Column: Thankful for first responders

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Commentary By Larry Lannan

We are often reminded of how fortunate we are to live in a community like Fishers.  The January 13th fire at the Flats apartment complex under construction at 131st Street and State Road 37 is such a reminder.

We have one of the best firefighting crews anywhere.  There were a number of stories about the battle waged against this nasty blaze.

I’m told many firefighters wanted to continue battling the blaze, even when told to come back and rest in the subzero conditions.  You have likely seen all the equipment firefighters wear.  Add to that ice all over and it weighs you down.  Yet our crews wanted to continue working the fire until ordered to rest.

Another challenge to fighting this fire came from the fact the apartment complex was still under construction when the blaze broke out.  The good news is, no one was injured because no one was in the structure.

It’s rare a large fire happens under good weather conditions.  I covered a fire many years ago with temperatures near 100 degrees and high humidity.  Firefighters were dropping from heat exhaustion, but the Indianapolis fire crews kept coming back.  It’s an amazing event to witness.

The Fishers fire brought help from fire departments all around the area.  They came to assist because they all knew Fishers would do the same for their communities.

Now the Fishers Fire Department turns its attention to investigating the cause of the inferno.  This will be no easy task.  Much of the evidence was encased in ice.  Even after the thaw, the building itself is so dangerous, with the always present danger of collapse, it poses great risks to investigators.

This is just one more example of how we in Fishers are fortunate to have some of the finest public safety employees anywhere.  How did this happen?  Some people deserve credit.

Fishers Fire Chief Steve Orusa and his predecessors should be recognized for hiring only the best.  The same goes for Fishers Police Chief George Kehl.  Chief Kehl was Fishers Town Marshall and handled the policing duties for the small community of Fishers years ago.  Now, Chief Kehl has hired every police officer on the city’s force.  How many police chiefs in Indiana can make that claim?

If you see a fireman or police officer around Fishers, take a moment to thank them for their service.  They earned it.


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