Editorial: Thank a first responder 

First responders are not only, as the name suggests, the first to respond – they also are the folks who go running toward situations most people would run away from. Whether it be a fire, a fatal car crash or a downed tree across a power line, when we need help, we call on our first responders.  

Last week the community witnessed firsthand what a successfully orchestrated response to an emergency looks like. The fire that occurred at the Bluenose Inn drew more than 15 different departments from as far away as Penobscot and Waldo counties.  

It was a four-alarm fire, which, in its simplest terms, means that it took four calls to get the necessary resources, with each call activating more and more departments outside the general geographic area to come and fight the fire. Some departments drove more than an hour and a half to lend a hand.  

Out-of-area departments also shuffled themselves and their resources around the counties so that if another emergency were to occur, someone could respond. The night of the fire, a number of departments from adjacent counties used the parking lot of the Lucerne Inn in Dedham to position themselves for this type of response, if needed.  

On the scene in Bar Harbor, hundreds of firefighters sprang into action. Not only did they keep the fire from spreading to nearby structures, but others directed traffic, blocked off roadways and helped to coordinate the response. It was, as they say, all hands on deck.  

The response also included the department’s newest recruits, students from College of the Atlantic, who were instrumental in moving hundreds of feet of hose lines from the water hydrants at street level to the fire scene high atop a hill. Recruiting COA students is not only a great way to bolster the department’s roster, but it is also a great way to include them in the community.  

The outpouring of support given to the emergency responders the night of the fire was also something to behold. Donations of bottled water came throughout the night. Volunteers put the bottles in snowbanks and worked to distribute them throughout the scene. Area residents took to social media to orchestrate donations of food and homemade baked goods. Area businesses in Ellsworth, Trenton and across Mount Desert Island delivered food to the scene and to the public safety building. Fire Chief Matt Bartlett said that the department was blown away by the community response. 

It is comforting to know that if a significant emergency occurs, resources – enough to meet the need – will arrive. 



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