A police and fire scanner sits in our newsroom, as it does in just about every daily newspaper in the country. That scanner is an important news-gathering tool.
When the tones sound, reporters sitting nearby pay attention. They seldom have to wait long to find out if it is time to grab a camera and notebook, and head out the door. Listening to the first responders on their radios, folks here can usually tell whether it's a minor accident, a chimney fire or a real blaze. The first voices heard around 6:30 p.m. Thursday left little doubt that something serious was happening.
Juniata Terrace is still standing today, less the 18 homes that were reportedly destroyed or badly damaged. A grease fire is being tentatively blamed as the cause of the blaze. Most of you already know all this.
While the fire was tragic and epic in scope, it could have been much worse. Consider that there were no fatalities, and few serious injuries. We do pray that those hurt have speedy recoveries, but we also say thanks for the fact that no one died. Add to that prayers for all the families who were displaced, as well as their neighbors in the tiny community.
We are also very grateful for the tremendous talent and effort displayed by the men and women who fought that awful blaze. That they kept it to one block might be described as a miracle. Just saying thanks to them seems inadequate, indeed.
The people who fight fires, help the sick and injured to receive medical care or search for the missing are a blessing on this region. To say that they are appreciated would be an understatement. There can be no better bunch of volunteers.