Contrary to Mr. Robert Craigue’s view that the Sharbot Lake Fire Department should be embarrassed by the circumstances attendant to its response to the three fires set by him, it seems instead that it is Mr. Craigue who should be embarrassed, even ashamed, about the event and his own response. Could it be that some facts are missing? Craigue says he discovered a fire hotspot the morning after he lit the fires, suggesting that his hotspot smoldered overnight, unattended, possibly as he slept comfortably indoors, obliviously. Everyone else should relax, too—Craigue offers assurances that he supervised his fire from 100 meters—about a football field away!
Perhaps the concerned citizen who reported the matter to the fire department should be commended, not condemned. It may be that the citizen did not even observe the remotely positioned Craigue, possibly obscured by smoke or trees, or that the citizen observed Craigue in the distance and was alarmed by Craigue’s lack of judgement and apparent indifference to the potential risks his conduct posed to others in the community and their property. In any event, both the citizen and the Sharbot Lake Fire Department did a service to the community, including the ungrateful Craigue.
Apparently, the smoke from his fires and heat from the hotspot has clouded Craigue’s thinking and caused his arrogant outrage, in lieu of the appreciative, remorseful and apologetic response that could be expected from a reasonable person.
The effectiveness of fire departments and their dedicated professionals and volunteers is not measured solely by the types and numbers of fires they extinguish—regardless of whether the fires are the result of natural cause, accident or the acts of fools. Their commitment to public service, as well as their efforts and results attendant to prevention, containment, safety and public education are important considerations, too.