Fire leaves important lessons

The blaze that destroyed the residences of at least 12 families on Dec. 13 at Country Club Terrace Apartments on Brush Mountain Road — displacing initially 24 families — garnered the considerable news coverage that the tragic incident merited.

True, the fire was a Blair County story. However, amid the flames, smoke, water and destruction lay a message applicable well beyond not only Blair, but beyond the six-county Southern Alleghenies region and this state as well.

It is a message that all who rent an apartment or house should heed. It also is a message to be acknowledged and given serious attention by anyone who owns a home, whether it be new or old, in good condition or otherwise.

The full message from Country Club Terrace didn’t become general public knowledge for days after the blaze. It emerged in a Mirror follow-up article on Dec. 20 headlined “Community rallies around families after fire.”

The article quoted Nancy Rightnour, the apartment complex’s manager, who said all except two families had renters’ insurance — a good percentage, but not good enough.

The purpose of this editorial is not to promote the coverage of any particular insurance company, nor is it aimed at suggesting how much coverage an apartment tenant or homeowner should have.

The point of it is that renters should not fail to provide at least some protection for their possessions, and homeowners should opt for at least some coverage for their homes and contents.

The Dec. 20 Mirror article reported on the outpouring of concern and help that has come in the aftermath of the Brush Mountain Road blaze.

“People have opened their hearts and given quite a bit,” Rightnour said. “I’ve had lots of churches and organizations reach out to me and ask how they can help.”

The families with insurance, although possibly losing some personal possessions that cannot be replaced, were nevertheless able early-on to embrace hope that some or most of their losses would be reimbursed, when processing of their insurance claims was completed.

Those without any insurance coverage faced — and perhaps continue to face — at least some uncertainty regarding their futures.

Another Mirror article, this one last Sunday dealing with holiday decorations safety, while not dealing specifically with insuring one’s home and possessions, provided evidence as to why insurance protection makes sense.

Many families overlook at least one safety recommendation when installing their decorations, such as failing to keep their live Christmas tree an adequate distance from heat sources, overloading outlets or exceeding the maximum number of light strands allowed to be attached together.

There probably are families still using light strands that are decades old and showing deterioration.

Such oversights — some people would prefer to use the word “carelessness” — represent a fire waiting to happen, and fires are not uncommon during the holiday season.

Decorations, carelessness and lack of insurance are dangerous risks by themselves. Together, they’re obviously much worse.

Even if you are experiencing financial difficulties, it’s reasonable to believe that affordable insurance options can be compiled to meet your needs.

You won’t know for sure unless you make inquiries and get premium quotes.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)


Starting at $4.39/week.

Subscribe Today