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Witnesses Question Handling Of Fire

January 24th, 2012 by WCBC Radio

Several eye witnesses to the early Friday morning fire in Cumberland that took the lives of two young children have serious concerns with the manner in which at least one city police officer  handled the incident. One woman tells WCBC News that she and a neighbor took a ladder to the burning house after seeing the children in the window screaming.  Only one police officer was on the scene at the time, and the woman says he prevented any effort to save the children saying that fire units were on the way.

Police Chief Charlie Hinnant tells WCBC News that he doesn’t know all of the specifics at this time, and that the incident is being investigated. He did emphasize that protocol for officers during such incidents is to restore order and make sure the public remains at a safe distance from the scene- and that they do not interfere in firefighting efforts…

8 Responses to “Witnesses Question Handling Of Fire”

  1. January 24, 2012 at 6:09 am, Michelle said:

    How can it be considered an interfernce when there is NOBODY on the scene at the moment?? Are these neighbors just supposed to stand and watch as those 2 babies stand i the window screaming? I would have done the same thing! Some of our “City’s Finest” need to get a backbone and just do what they KNOW is the right thing to do. I could never prevent someone from helping another human being in dostress… especially a child, let alone 2 of them!


  2. January 24, 2012 at 7:17 am, D Walker said:

    What about common sense, doesn’t anyone emphasize that anymore. Had he taken the ladder and got the kids, he and the fire department would be heros right now.
    So sad.


  3. January 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm, M. Sinclair said:

    There is a bigger issue here as well and that is why was there not any smoke detectors found in these buildings, is that not the responsibility of the landlord to have them installed and in working order. An officers job is to protect and serve the public and from what was being relayed on the scanner was the fire was fully engulfed on the first floor not allowing any attempts to get into the building either from the front or the back of the building. A person is condemned for doing their job when their should have been working smoke detectors in the building. An officer is not going to permit the public to enter a building if there is a chance of them perishing as well. God rest the soles of these small children but the incident should be checked into further as to why there was not one single smoke detector in the building that could have alerted these families and got them all to safety before the incident went to the extent it did.


  4. January 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm, Kenny said:

    Yeah..what about common sense…why not have smoke detectors in a house?? Why not get the kids out on your way off the same floor of that structure? I think some people are missing some big points here..six occupants escaped that fire…how many adults would be outside your house if your kids were still inside? If there were kids at that window every cop I know would’ve been up that ladder trying to get them out, cops have to be a certain way when dealing with a criminal element..but underneath they are some of the most caring and compassionate people alive, it takes that character to do the job. Unfortunatley by the time these civilians with a ladder arrived it was too late, and that cop made a split second deciscion to not endanger other lives..likely those civilians would’ve become victims themselves and delayed rescue attempts even longer when CFD did arrive. If that cop did stop these people he had good reason to, and he probably saved their lives. Everyone looks for someone to blame in a tragedy, it’s an evil human nature..but the CPD and CFD are not to blame, they were doing what they could based on years of training and expierence. Smoke detectors are free to city residents, there is no valid excuse why there were none in that house, you want someone to blame, start there but it won’t fix anything and it won’t bring anyone’s sad any way you slice it. Learn from it, and don’t let it happen to you! Kudos to CFD and CPD, you all did your best, and that is all anyone can ask!


  5. January 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm, Daniel said:

    @ M. Sinclair…is this a free country? if I wish to risk my life in an attempt to rescue 2 children, should another man be allowed to stop me? I am a veteran of the US Army, I swore to protect my country at any cost. An officer of the law has the responsibility to protect and to serve. You are defending HIM? He should have climbed the ladder himself, and since he did not have the courage to do so, he should have allowed anyone willing to do so. The officer DID NOT do his job. Yes, the absence of smoke detectors is relevant, but hardly a bigger issue as you stated. How insensitive. A man, not an electronic device, made a decision that may possibly have cost 2 girls their lives. And you sir are defending THAT ?!?!?


  6. January 24, 2012 at 10:33 pm, john j. smith said:

    No fireman was on the scene,how can a person interfere, the police was the one who interfered. By the time the fire there,people could have saved thegirls


  7. January 25, 2012 at 7:09 am, Joe blow said:

    2 girls may have been alive. Or more people could have been dead. It’s easy to accuse the officer from behind your keyboard but you weren’t there and you have no idea what really happened.


  8. January 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm, Robert said:

    Once again lets play, “The Blame Game”, americas favorite. There isn’t one among you that has the faintest idea what you are talking about, and all started up by the one who knows least of all. Unfortunatly that person has a voice on the radio….its a shame he couldnt use it for something useful, something with substance. Rather…this cheap person uses the death of children to score ratings with the local gray mindless masses. It must be lonely up there in your ivory tower, huh Dave? None of you would have the guts to deal with the daily chaos and random acts of stupidity that the police handle,…I mean, why participate in the game when you can just shout ridicule from the sidelines. Bad things happen. Those involved try thier best to do the right thing, I can’t imagine for a second what that fire must have been like, Im not a firefighter, those who were there did thier job, and pointing a finger changes nothing.


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