CHIEF BILLY GOLDFEDER
With the operating conditions in Detroit, so many wondered what would eventually happen related to DFD, as far as their Firefighters being injured, or worse, killed in the line of duty. And when I heard about the comments so emotionally SCREAMED by a Detroit Fire Sgt today. "What a complete waste," ...he died.. "For what? For what? Some dump of a house?" The words hit hard...as they should.
I mean, really, in so many respects, few really care about trying to really save Detroit. Read the news. Look at the politics. Look at that City. The only ones who really seem to consistently and genuinely give a damn are the Detroit Firefighters. Why would I say that? Show me where anyone else really cares-and can prove it. It ain't there. It's like the DFD Firefighters are the "last ones standing" in that City.
Sometimes when I see them operating I think that their actions are far more than Firefighters hitting a fire. I mean, for those who have lived there most or all of their lives, it's like they are trying to do whatever they can to stop "any more" of their city from being destroyed. Just trying to save...as it continues to go away. And then today happened.
There is now one less Detroit Firefighter standing. And he is the 100th LODD in the United States of America in 2008.
This mornings horrible loss was put into a very poignant and sobering perspective by a DFD Firefighter in the below article. "What a complete waste," screamed Sgt. Jimmy Montgomery, who served with Harris at the Squad 3/Engine 23 Firehouse located near the crumbing carcass of the old Packard automobile plant. "For what? For what? Some dump of a house?"
As you now know that FF Walter Harris was horribly lost this morning while operating in that vacant "dump of a house". By all accounts, FF Walter Harris Sr was the kind of FF whose warm, fun and stabilizing personality would be a welcome addition to any firehouse...anywhere. While few people outside of Detroit really understand or have seen (or even care) what terrible conditions exist in Detroit, the only thing really left, in a City whose government has failed miserably, is the Detroit Firefighters.
When the role call of the Detroit Fire Department is called tonight, one less GOOD MAN will so very sadly fail to answer the call.
For the rest of us and eventually the now grieving Firefighters of the DFD, maybe we can think about FF Walter Harris....for example, when we size up, we can THINK about FF Harris (we posted several pictures of his big smiling face on our home page)...and operate at our next vacant structural fire in a manner as if FF Harris might have been given a second chance. Of course he won't get one but fortunately we can, we do and can genuinely honor his life, his heroic life and his memory, in how we operate at future fires. Think of Firefighter Walter Harris Sr.
Don't know Walter Harris? I didn't but I wish I did. But from today's and past accounts, just think of the nicest, most fun, smiling-ist and most stabilizing Firefighter in your firehouse. You know the type. The one you can always count on. One of the real good ones. You know'm.
Rest in Peace Firefighter Walter Harris Sr...and our condolences to all affected, but especially the DFD and the family of FF Harris.
Here is the article: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081115/METRO/81...
Also See: More Coverage on Statter911.com