Any time a community undergoes the kind disaster faced by the residents of Windsor Green and the emergency workers who responded to it, the news media kicks into overdrive to provide information in the critical immediate aftermath of the event, and in the days to follow to highlight heroism, hardship and hurdles to be overcome in the future.
That’s been the aim of The Sun News’ journalists over the past 10 days. In words, photos and videos we have sought to shine a light in all those areas. If you missed the coverage, you can find it online, including: interviews with the police officers who were the first on the scene; photo galleries of residents finally allowed to search for remnants of their lives among the ashes; the search for pets who -- it is hoped -- escaped, and the vigil for those pets that perished in the inferno that consumed 26 buildings.
We also requested, through the Freedom of Information Act, copies of the 911 tapes. That was not out of a voyeuristic desire to hear panicked voices, as some Facebook commenters accused. The request was made as a continuation of our watchdog role, to when and how the first notifications of the fire arrived, and when and how the public safety officials responded.
An after-action examination of the calls and the timeline is a critical component of any such response, and it is our role to make sure that information is done in the public view. It is a role we played following the 2009 blaze that destroyed 76 homes in Barefoot Resort and we are proud of the reporting that helped highlight problems uncovered in the aftermath of that fire.
We will continue to report on fund-raisers and other efforts on behalf of those left homeless by the fire, and we will continue to talk with officials and experts about what lessons have been learned from this experience that can help guide fire-fighting efforts next time.
Because, as we noted in our coverage on Sunday, we live in a fire-prone area. There will be a next time. How devastating it is depends on what decisions and preparations we make now.
Nothing child’s play about Dear Abby column
About once every six weeks or so, I get a call or email from someone upset over content in the Dear Abby column because on Wednesdays it appears on the flip side of the Mini Page.
No more. Thanks to the efforts of Marian Phillips, who in addition to being one of our IT saviors, has the thankless task of “booking” or arranging the ads on all of the pages of the newspaper, we will change up the order of those pages on Wednesdays so that the sometimes adult nature of Abby’s content won’t rub up against the Mini Page.
That also means, however, that comics, puzzles and the TV grid will appear in a different order that day. So keep flipping if you can’t find your horoscope. It’s there. I see it in your stars.
Please also keep sharing your views on our coverage, in print, online, on your smartphone or your tablet. And thanks.