Monday, November 05, 2007

Stories From the Fire - Tragic Loss

All of the losses in the fire were tragic. Some were more tragic than others. This is a story of one of those losses. It's easy to argue after the fact over whether it was avoidable or not, but no amount of second-guessing can bring back the dead. The casualty numbers were very low for a fire of this magnitude, but even with low casualty numbers, somebody is going to know someone who died. Sadly, she-who-has-had-a-pretty-rough-go did. One of her coworkers at Rincon Middle School lost her life in the fire. This article gives a decent account. For those who are wondering, they lived in an area that was overrun in about 15 minutes time. All we can do is speculate, but the best guess is that they thought they had a minute or two to grab a couple last things. They were wrong. And lest you think they had a lot of time, their next door neighbors did not have time to evacuate either. They survived by huddling in their swimming pool. Imagine sitting in 52 degree water and watching your house burn to the ground.

The principal of their school, John Centofranchi, was really excellent in the face of crisis. He kept in touch with all his teachers during the fires and sent out word to them when the first rumors of Vicky's death surfaced. He kept on top of the story and made sure they heard the confirmation from him before it hit the airwaves. He also did a tremendous job of making sure there were support personnel on hand to help students and teachers deal with the grieving process. The teachers had a meeting the day before students came back where all the rumors about what happened were dispelled. While I am saddened by the loss, it is comforting to know that the students and teachers are in such capable hands and are well supported as we try to rebuild our community.