Pleasure to hear from you, Kirk -- and I sure hope I've not gone soft. I certainly haven't tanned out here, at least...
Anyway. I didn't mean "acerbic" in a negative sense. Pam isn't known for pulling punches.
Some bits were just challenging to read. I admit the dramatization of the Everetts' tragic death, especially, gave me pause. Relevant to the story or not, that's a gruesome thing to read.
But I agree with the takeaway: anytime there's preventable death, somebody should be made to answer for it.
And for all the readers and commenters, I think it's important to recognize the distinction made between the response of those in charge and the bravery of the boots on the ground actually fighting the blaze and getting people out of the area. The latter hasn't been called into question, but the former.
I was interning at the Indy this summer when the fire broke out. My family's home in south Peregrine, (near Flying W/Centennial) was put under pre-evac in the late afternoon on the 26th. I had finished my work for the day and cited the pre-evac to go home a bit early (about 4:00 p.m). Honestly, I figured I'd sit at home an extra hour. Pre-evac? No big deal.
As I made my way up Orchard Valley — still under, pre-evacuation, mind — flames had reached the top of "the scar." Visibility had already deteriorated in the valley.
Yet when I got home my mom and sister had no idea. We had to then re-pack all the boxes we had unpacked from the pre-evac issued the Saturday prior.
Obviously, my home wasn't touched, but we were lumped into the same geographical area, in terms of evacuation orders, as upper Mountain Shadows. It's feasible many residents there where homes did burn had a similar experience.
If I hadn't gone home early, the only reason my family would've known to leave would be an officer rapping on the door. In this age, that's way too late.
I hope the at-times-acerbic language of this article doesn't dissuade folks from seeing where there may have been some missteps in planning. Those of us affected feel so much admiration for the first responders, it's tough to see any of them criticized. They worked so hard and did so much good. But perhaps some officials made their jobs even harder than they had to be.
I don't think calling for a third-party review of the incident reflects poorly on any of their heroism.
Thanks, Pam. I'm a big fan of your reporting ethic.
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