A new respect for firefighters

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To the Editor:

Mary and I would like to give a big thanks to the entire Oak Bluffs Fire Department, even if you weren’t at our fire at the Madison Inn on Tuesday, Nov. 14, for being firefighters. I guess until your building is on fire and you’re on the verge of suffering a monumental loss, you just don’t entirely appreciate the time, effort, and personal sacrifice people put in to be firefighters, EMTs, whatever.

Whether you’re paid or volunteer, chief or rank and file, the fact that you are motivated to be a part of a group for whom the elemental concern is trying to save people and their stuff from being consumed by fire is cause for the utmost gratitude. To drop whatever you’re doing at a moment’s notice and race to the station so that you can respond to people in a profoundly critical time of need is so humane, so thoroughly selfless, so heroic, that it must be thought to border on the saintly.

Needless to say, all the men and women who attended our fire, or served as backup for those who did, are individually and collectively responsible for saving our building.

We waited seven precious minutes after finding our building full of smoke before we called 911, in an effort to find and extinguish the fire on our own, and so as “not to be a bother.” In hindsight, it was a terrible hesitation, and please never make the same mistake yourself. We did eventually locate our fire, but were certainly ill-prepared to do battle with it on our own.

Once we finally did put in the call, we had Scott Hershowitz (Mocha Mott’s Scott) at our door in about a minute, and the rest of the department there shortly after. Fire put down. Building saved. Epic effort by everyone involved (and did Edgartown back up? All thanks to you firefighters too).

Caleb Caldwell and Mary Ibsen
The Madison Inn, Oak Bluffs