After a fire, community is needed

After the fire that destroyed four businesses Friday on Lake Placid’s Station Street, what can we say that hasn’t been said a million times before? As writers and journalists, we try to avoid cliches and repetition, but sometimes – especially when you’re stunned by bad news – all you can manage to choke out is the obvious.

That’s not a bad thing because those words, cliche or not, are true and are usually appreciated by the people who need to hear them – who feel better to know that a large portion of the community is sorry for their plight and supports them and is rooting for them.

That’s one reason crises like these are great uniters – because everyone feels the same way, and therefore says the same things.

So here goes – obvious but earnest.

We, like everyone else in this area, are so sorry for the losses of these business owners. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.

Also, we are eternally grateful for local emergency personnel: fire, rescue, police, municipal crews, etc. The fire call went shortly after midnight, and with temperatures close to 20 below zero, dozens of firefighters from 11 departments – mostly unpaid volunteers – jumped into action. Some from the farthest away, like Tupper Lake and Keeseville, were called off en route, but nine departments from as far away as 20 miles fought the blaze in shifts, swapping out for those who got encrusted in ice. It was gruelling, but because of their good teamwork, no one was injured or had to be treated for frostbite.

Then the Essex County fire investigators had to try to find the cause and origin under a foot of ice.

Valiant – all of them. We owe them all a debt we cannot repay, although somehow adding to their ranks would be appreciated.

These emergency personnel will be honored at a fundraiser from 4 to 8 p.m. today at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery. (See the story in today’s news section.) The event’s purpose is also to gather money for the fire victims, through a silent auction and the pub’s contribution of $2 per pint to Cake Placid, owned by a mother of two with big bills and no income since the bakery burned.

Other events have already sprung up, dedicated to the same cause: a Zumba fitness dance class Monday at 5:30 p.m. in the St. Agnes School gym, and the I Love Local Eats Cooking Series event Feb. 13 at the Shipman Youth Center.

Joe and Jan Moore, who own Placid Boatworks and the burned building, are being magnanimous in asking that donors give to one of their tenants, Rick’s Taxi, rather than to them. That kindness will surely be repaid sometime.

We urge people to contribute to the cause of helping rebuild these businesses, and when they’re ready to hang out that “open” sign again, they’ll find strong support here at the Enterprise and Lake Placid News.

It could happen to any of us, and if so, we’d need all the help we could get. Please be generous.