Thursday night’s downtown fire in Raleigh had those who live and work in the area near the fire – the Metropolitan apartment building under construction was lost – trying to see all they could see, and news websites were buzzing. The worst was feared for a while, what with all the other construction in downtown and buildings so close together.
But it must be said that firefighters and police responded amazingly well, and most important of all, there were no life-threatening injuries. One firefighter was hit by glass and has been treated.
Construction sites can be hazardous, with lots of building materials on site, people working around them all day and equipment running hard. This blaze will of course be investigated, but the absence of serious injury offers Raleigh residents a chance to bow to the courage of first-responders, so often taken for granted until they’re needed. And when that happens, they’re needed quickly.
In this case, firefighters doused nearby buildings to prevent fire from spreading. And this was no small event. Chief John Fanning said in his 24 years as a firefighter in Raleigh, “This is the biggest fire that I have seen.”
Let us hope it will be the biggest ever, and that the city’s existing regulations, which have proved effective, will continue to be so. But in the next few days, it might be good for residents to thank a firefighter or a police officer as a deserved gesture of appreciation.