Fire response proves good neighbors exist

Published 12:27 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The cast and crew members of the Leeds Center for the Arts’ upcoming production of “Hairspray” say they could see the fire that damaged a downtown building across the street as they left the theater late Thursday night. As they quickly called 911, the small fire in the second-story window erupted and spread quickly, Tracey Miller recalled.

Neighbors from nearby apartments and businesses watched from across the street as firefighters battle the flames, rescue trapped residents and clean up the mess left from the late-night blaze. 

The effects fire, which was allegedly set intentionally in a second-floor apartment of the sleeping rooms at 40 N. Main St., spread to the adjacent apartments displacing more than a dozen tenants. The business on the first floor, Debra Parr’s Heart to Home Services sustained severe water and smoke damage.

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A couple doors down, Dirty South Pottery’s door was suffering smoke damage and needed to have a door replaced that was knocked down during emergency efforts.

When all was clear, it was time for the neighbors who watched in disbelief from across the street the night before to cross over and pitch in to help those affected by the fire.

As  Henri J.M. Nouwen, writes in “Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith, “We become neighbors when we are willing to cross the road for one another.”

Clark Countians rose to the occasion after this tragic fire. Red Cross was on the scene almost immediately, and as Parr said herself, the downtown neighbors rallied to help with the cleanup efforts. A business owner from the opposite end of Main Street showed up to help repair the door at DSP. Nearby business owners helped Parr gather the damaged ceiling tiles that littered her business Friday morning.

Nouwen said it best, when he wrote, “We are all very busy in our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the road once in a while and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might indeed become neighbors.”

Thankfully, the neighbors in Clark County always seem ready and willing to cross the street and lend a helping hand.