Recent fire demonstrates importance of cooperation

Published 10:42 am Monday, May 23, 2016

A fiery inferno engulfed a Wayne Township house last week, destroying the residence in the process.

Thankfully, the lone person who normally resides in the house was not inside at the time.

In spite of its ferocity, thanks to the fast response of both township and city fire stations, the blaze was contained to just the house it originated in. Firefighters worked for several hours to extinguish the flames, receiving some assistance from members of the Indian Lake Fire Department, who relieved some of the first responders after the fire was under control.

While a tragic loss for the family that owned the structure, the incident was another demonstration of the strength of the systems our municipalities have in place to bolster our public safety needs.

According Wayne Township Supervisor (and firefighter) Frank Butts, the fire served as the first call in the township’s dual-response zone, established in 2014 when the City of Dowagiac extended its waterlines to residences Nubour Road. Both the Dowagiac Fire Department and Wayne Township Fire Department are automatically dispatched to fires occurring within this area — as was the case with last week’s incident.

In fact, according to Butts, both Dowagiac and Wayne Township firefighters arrived on the scene around three minutes after the departments received the alarm.

There’s no better showcase for the effectiveness of the system than that.

However, even in fires occurring outside this or other dual-response areas, it’s not uncommon to see multiple local fire stations on the scene, with a dozen or more firefighters working in tandem to quickly and efficiently put out the flames.

For Dowagiac and its surrounding townships, this level of cooperation is a crucial element to their strategy to keep our community safe. While none of our departments have the wealth or manpower of those of large cities, by working together, they become quite a force for any fire to reckon with.

This applies to our local police departments as well, with Dowagiac, Cass County, Pokagon and other law enforcement agencies regularly working together to secure crime scenes or investigate local incidents.

In our estimation, very few communities in the state see this strong level of cooperation between its public safety departments.

We want to thank our local firefighters for their dedication to working together to ensure our people remain safe.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.