Few stories are as heartwrenching as those about a family losing a home to fire. The only thing worse is the death of a relatively young person, especially a child.
But one fact found and appreciated somewhat mitigated the tragedy of last week’s house fire, even to some extent for the victims, but certainly for me as I tried to unravel what had happened.
As I stood the next morning in front of the rubble, hoping to find someone to ask about the fire and get a photo, I was handed a bag of clothes. Was I going to try to find the Whybark family today? Then, would I try to see that they get these clothes?
The gesture illustrated two things: First, that after a house fire, it is often extraordinarily difficult to find the victims, simply because they have been displaced from their home. Second, people in this community care for one another.
And third, the first fact can impede the realization of the second. People who can, should and would help, sometimes can’t get timely aid to those who need it because their whereabouts is suddenly an unkown. This is not uncommon after a fire.
Perhaps a way could be found to routinely include such information in the services offered victims after a fire. At one point, an insurance company was reportedly looking for the Whybarks to get them a support check. I can only imagine that, although dazed and confused, that’s the kind of help in which victims of a house fire might take some comfort.
editor and publisher