To the editor:
Every day there are stories to be told in Moffat County that serve as small reminders about why we choose to live and work in our small community. Numerous times we read in the newspaper how our community comes together in a time of need to provide assistance during and after an emergency. But a story that you won't see in newspaper headlines, or television broadcasts, and certainly a story that you won't hear in very many other communities in the state or the country, is the story about our small community police department that went far above and beyond what is expected.
Early on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 13, an apartment fire consumed six units of a 12-unit complex. Craig Fire/Rescue responded to the emergency with everyone it had available - that was 15 firefighters. A similar-sized fire in a metropolitan area would have been met by 50 or 60 firefighters and three times the number of fire apparatus. None of this is amazing - it is what we do every day and what we are accustomed to.
What we are not accustomed to is the police chief standing amidst the firefighters asking what he and his department could do to help.
Within minutes, the Craig Police Department provided food, coolers of water, Gatorade, a tent to provide shade for the firefighters and folding chairs to provide the most adequate rehabilitation stations for our firefighters, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone from the code enforcement officer to the police chief was assisting firefighters with replacing used air bottles with new ones, assisting fatigued firefighters with removal of wet and heavy gear, moving fire apparatus when needed and, in general, providing a level of support and camaraderie unique to a fire department/police department relationship. They rolled their sleeves up and jumped in head first - and they were there until the end.
We also owe an enormous thanks to the The Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services personnel who did for us what they always do - provide exceptional on-scene care for our firefighters. We have become accustomed to EMTs and paramedics who understand the strenuous work that has to be done while fighting such a large fire. We take for granted an ambulance crew that looks after us like they would their own. We've also come to rely on the ambulance personnel who just do what needs to be done without being asked - whether that is helping a firefighter don an airpack or providing water to a firefighter who has just come out of a burning building. We are safer because TMH EMS is our on-scene partner.
In the end, the citizens of our community are safer because of the cooperation between the emergency service providers of this community.
Craig Fire/Rescue is proud of the relationship it has with law enforcement on every level and the ambulance service, but we were humbled by the outpouring of support that we received when we most needed it - we never even had to ask, the support was just there.
I challenge anyone to find another community - large or small - where similar teamwork comes naturally.
Thank you to the police department and EMS for making our jobs a little easier and for making Moffat County a better place to live.
Chief Chris Nichols