Volunteers and first responders show they have our community’s safety at heart

Published 6:50 am Wednesday, January 8, 2020

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”

In the early 20th century, English politician Elizabeth Andrew summed up the spirit — and the heart  — of a volunteer perfectly.

And if the words spoken by Andrew were not enough to perfectly depict a volunteer, the actions Monday by volunteer first responders surely was.

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In the middle of the afternoon, with many at work or doing something else, 20 volunteer firefighters, representing a number of volunteer fire departments from around Warren County, came when called and tried to save the unsavable when they fought the fire at The Landings Apartments.

Once on the scene, these volunteers stepped forward, walked into the burning building to make sure no one was injured and no lives were at risk.

Then, once they knew everyone was safe, they turned their attention to controlling the fire, making sure it did not spread. They did their job, they saved other buildings and everyone returned to their families uninjured.

Warren County is blessed to have so many volunteer fire departments covering rural portions of our county and so many volunteers to staff those stations and answer the call when needed.

Combine their service with that of the full-time responders serving with the Vicksburg Fire Department and residents within and without Vicksburg city limits have tremendous coverage and care.

The investment these men and women have made in training and preparing has paid off time and time again, and it paid off once again Monday when the only things lost to the fire were things that can be rebuilt and replaced.

Monday’s fire that destroyed Building 9 at The Landings Apartments was a major structure fire. It tested not just the training but also the capabilities of our volunteer departments and those of the city’s fire department.

In the coming days, there will be after-action reports and analysis to see what can be done better, and if there were any shortfalls in the response.

In the meantime, and in the aftermath of this tragic event, we as a community thank our first responders, thank our volunteers for putting their lives on the line for us, our families and our community. You might not have the time, but you surely have the heart.

Thank you.