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By all rights, Hilltop Plaza should be nothing more than a pile of charred remains.
The fire that tragically ruined two businesses and killed dozens of animals could have, heck should have, been much worse.
When our reporter arrived minutes after the fire was called out, smoke was already billowing from the building’s rafters. Given that strip malls are rivaled in short burning time only by trailers, it appeared to be a goner.
But thanks for city and county firefighters, that isn’t the case.
While his crew provided medical assistance and whatever else firefighters needed, Emergency Management Director Bart Powell stopped for a moment and told just how amazing it is that the firefighters saved the plaza.
“It’s incredible,” said Powell, a veteran of numerous fire scenes. “Strip malls are built to burn, but it looks like they’re going to save this one.”
Doing so took courage and plenty of it, as evidenced by the firefighter on page A1 chopping a hole in the side of the building while flames dance above his head and below his, well, butt.
One person at the scene repeated the old firefighter joke: “You see rats and cockroaches running out of a burning building, but firemen running it.”
That about says it all. These brave men and women deserve much more than the meager support they receive. So, when you see one of them on the street, please thank them for their efforts.