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January 2, 2009 - Heather Ziegler
Anyone who read the comments on the newspaper Web site regarding the New Year's Eve fire might be astounded to hear such rude comments out of supposed adults' mouths. The bashing of Wheeling firefighters and the way they handled the fire is uncalled for. That structure was fully engulfed when they got there. Anyone who could do the job better is welcome to step up to the plate, take the test and prove it. Yes, I am the wife and sister-in-law to two retired Wheeling firefighters. During their years on the department, Wheeling saw some of the biggest and most devastating fires (many arson) but the entire town didn't burn down as some predicted when Bernhardt's burned or when Kara's Bridal store burned. How about the Bing's furniture store fire, a second-alarm or more blaze that brought firefighters from everywhere to downtown because at the same time, the Country Western bar next to Independence Hall also was going up in smoke. At that time, there was mutual aid from across the river departments brought in to Wheeling. Everyone worked together. But unless there is a mutual aid agreement between departments, there are liability issues when someone wants to just jump in and help. I will not jump in the middle of the paid vs. volunteer battle because I have my bias on some of those issues. However, the Wheeling fire department is a young department once again as is cyclical in all departments of the city. But their training and ranking as one of the best, if not the best, in the state goes without saying. It's easy to hide behind nameless emails and bash people. At least I put my name on my thoughts.
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