So far, the first couple months of 2018 have brought an unwelcome mixture of fire and ice to Powell.
A blizzard pounded the area on Sunday with blowing snow, frigid temperatures, icy roads and huge drifts. While it arrived with an especially powerful punch, snowstorms come with the territory in Wyoming.
In the hours before the snowfall, however, something more awful happened: A fire destroyed a Powell resident’s home. We’re thankful to report that no people perished in the Saturday night blaze, but saddened by the family’s loss of a beloved pet.
Alarmingly, the fire marked the fourth time a Powell home has been destroyed by flames in just over six weeks.
“It seems we’ve had as many — if not more — just in this first part of the year than we typically do in an entire year,” said Chief Damian Dicks last week, after the Powell Volunteer Fire Department fought the third house fire of the year on Feb. 12.
The other two local fires occurred on Jan. 2 in town and on Jan. 6 in rural Powell, where, sadly, a man died of smoke inhalation.
We truly hope residents are spared from any more house fires this year.
The recent wave of fires continues to show how crucial it is to have a working smoke detector in your home. If you don’t already have one, get a smoke detector as soon as possible. It’s an easy task to put off, but the consequences could be deadly for you and your family.
It’s also a good time to test your smoke detector and check the batteries. Any detector over 10 years old should be replaced, Dicks said.
Each time we see flames engulf a residence — destroying irreplaceable family keepsakes and abruptly uprooting lives — our hearts break for those who called it home.
In such moments, it’s also important to recognize the first responders who put their own lives at risk during fires and other emergencies.
Whenever a 911 call comes in and the sirens blare, a faithful team of firefighters, EMTs and law enforcement officers hurries to the scene.
Sometimes, they’re awakened in the middle of the night and leave a warm bed to battle a blaze in the subzero wind. Other times, they rush out of a birthday dinner or date night. And every time, they must be away from their families to help others — even if that means risking their own lives.
While we cannot say why 2018 has been such a bad year for fires, we can say that, without Powell’s first responders, things would have been much worse.