While he never got a chance to get their names, Wheeling Fire Chief Larry Helms said he would like to thank the many neighbors who stepped forward to provide a little extra comfort to firefighters battling recent blazes in the city.
Helms said he has taken notice of the tremendous amount of public support that has poured out from the surrounding neighbors during a couple of recent structure fires.
"Even before our normal process of getting rehab things to the scene - drinking water and things like that - the citizens would come out and offer drinks and things like that to the firefighters," said Helms.
He said he specifically noticed a "huge" amount of support from local residents during two fires that occurred within hours of each other in Wheeling.
Helms said firefighters received a great amount of support during a structure fire at 42 Kentucky St. on Wheeling Island. That blaze claimed the life of a local woman.
Neighbors also turned out again the next morning at another fire that occurred at 4524 Eoff St. in South Wheeling.
"We had neighbors bringing bottled water to the fronts of the trucks. ... When our rehab crew arrived, there was already cases of water there for our firefighters to hydrate and get some kind of relief," Helms said.
"It just seems like that's something that has become more prominent, or maybe I've just noticed more the last couple of fires.
"I don't have any individual names to show my appreciation. ... I just wanted the citizens of Wheeling to understand that I do appreciate their efforts to to help us out," he added.