There are just some things that don’t make sense.
The early Saturday morning fire outside of Garland that killed six people, two of them children, is among them. No matter how hard we work to reconcile the tragic occurrence — and the realization that one day these individuals were full of life and the next they were gone — finding a way to come to terms with the devastating losses will not be easy.
It certainly won’t be for those closest to the six individuals, including family and friends. But it will be almost as difficult for the community of Garland and for all those emergency workers thrust into the brunt of the tragedy and faced with the grim realities that no one should ever have to witness.
They all will need our prayers and our support as days turn into weeks and weeks into months. Time may heal, but it won’t come quickly.
And, according to Garland Mayor Winfred Murphy, the victims’ families will also need our financial assistance, ensuring, for example, that those lost in the fire have proper burials and that other costs are met. For those who can afford to lend a helping hand, we certainly hope one will be offered, putting action behind words in the great way only Sampsonians can do when called upon to offer their assistance.
But beyond the support and even the help, we hope will come the lessons that can be the rays of sunshine that ease their way from behind the dark clouds this tragedy has brought.
That lesson — to have a working smoke detector in your home.
While we have no idea whether there was a smoke detector in the Gibbs Road residence, attention is always placed on them when such terrible tragedies strike, and warnings go out, urging residents to check detector batteries and install one if one isn’t already in the home.
They do save lives, serving as the warning many need to get out of the house before smoke overcomes them and fire tears through their homes.
While we understand that not every family can afford such a device, there are programs right here in Sampson County that make them available at no charge.
We urge citizens across this great county to take the extra steps needed to ensure that they have a smoke detector in their home, understanding that one simple process could be the life-saving tool they may one day need.
Nothing we can do will bring back the six individuals who perished in Saturday’s fire, but if one person installs a smoke detector because of the realizations this tragedy awoke, then something good can still come out of something so, so terribly bad.
Our thoughts and prayers go with the families of those lost and with the firefighters, emergency crews and law enforcement officers on scene that morning. May God’s strength lift them up, his love surround them and his guiding hand lift them out of the depths of pain and toward a brighter tomorrow.