Councilors help 1st responders deal with fatal fire
NEWNAN, GA (CBS46) -
Investigators in Newnan are still trying to get to the bottom of a massive fire that took the life of a mother and four of her kids.
Meanwhile, the community is struggling to move on, and that includes those first responders.
Chief William Whitley with the Newnan Fire Department said when you put on the uniform, you have to be ready to deal with the good and the bad.
However, there are times the bad incidents are much worse than expected.
"We deal with this daily, but what happened Friday night was something I hadn't seen in 26 years with that many small children pass away," said Whitley.
Grief councilors were brought in for a joint session with officers and firefighters that worked the tragedy. It was strictly voluntary, but well attended.
"It's a process of learning what you're going through is normal and it also gives you the warning signs and flags you may need," said Whitley.
Perhaps the main message pushed in the meeting was that it's OK to open up, even if that means shedding a few tears.
"It's very important. If there comes a time where you gotta cry, you just gotta cry. There's nothing wrong with that," said Newnan police Chief Douglas Meadows.
Whitley couldn't agree more. "I've been up here 26 years and I've seen a lot of tears shed from grown men and I've shed a few myself. Ain't nothing wrong with that," said Whitley.
Some officers and firefighters might take longer than others to move on, but both Whitley and Meadows said they're confident everyone will bounce back and be ready to go.
That's important because even though this isn't a criminal investigation, there's still work to be done.
"We want to find as much as we can to help prevent this from happening to anyone else," said Meadows.
These fatalities brought the state's total count for April up to 15 and 53 for the year.
As for the victims, there has been a memorial fund set up at Wells Fargo Banks to help the family with funeral costs. It's called the Alonna McCrary Memorial Fund, and you can donate at any Wells Fargo Bank.
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