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A Fire Story



By John M. Malecky                                                              December, 2023


A Fire Story

By Brian Fies


Available from:

FSP Books & Videos

433 Main Street, Suite 2A

Hudson, MA  01749


E-mail: support@fire-police-ems.com



Price: $24.99


This is a hard cover book measuring seven-inches by nine-inches, with 146 pages. It is about a series of wildfires that burned in northern California in October of 2017. The author lost his house to one of the fires and within those fires, 44 people lost their lives. The book is dedicated in memory of those souls. What makes this book different is that it is written from the victim’s experience and point of view. In addition, the author is a cartoonist, so he took to his drawing book, pencils and markers in order to tell others about the heartbreak, frustrations and a positive side of not only his recovery, but of those told by other families affected in their own words. Days after he put together a firsthand account in a twenty-page online cartoon with this book’s title. It soon went viral and news outlets picked up the story, including CNN, the Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly and Mother Jones, as well as local newspapers and TV stations to name a few. Ironically, empathy from agencies such as utility companies, FEMA and other agencies was not to be had. It got to be that if the person you were talking to did not experience your tragedy, they simply just followed a protocol with little sympathy in order to do their job. So, there are several chapters which start with a page or so of text and the rest in cartoons. Cartoons are meant to be funny, but these for the most part are not. They do however illustrate the horror and recovery which were the by-products of losing your house and home. Many of the details include the life histories of these families, especially the mementos and heirlooms lost forever. It is a good example of helping us to see the receiving side of tragedy. When I was first on the job, like most rookies I couldn’t wait to go to a fire and if a fire didn’t come, I was disappointed. It was like what we did and we expected to go to fires and emergencies. But as time passed, I started to empathize with the people who lost their homes or suffered from fire damage. I was horror stricken about how I would feel if it was my house. So, from that time on I simply responded to fires as they came, but did not hope for one if they did not. The book is an easy read as far as time is concerned, but also a means of education and an example of how indifferent this world can operate. Another thing to take away is to be prepared. If you live in a suburb, rural area or any place that could have a potential threat of disaster where evacuation would be needed, make a list of personal items, important records and whatever is vital to you and your family and keep it handy. Many of the families started doing these things, but with very little time when their homes were being threatened.

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John MaleckySenior Columnist

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