Aftermath of fire shows character

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

Just a day after the fire that destroyed his business, Art Martin was counting his blessings.

With smoke still rising from the corner where his business stood, the owner of Donaldson’s Carpet, said, “We are fortunate enough to be in a small town.”

Donaldson was referring to the offers for help he received, including one from his main competitor, Tom DePaolo of DePaolo’s Floor Covering and Home Decorating Center.

Martin’s statement accurately sums up the outpouring of assistance on the day of the fire, from donations of food and drink to the firefighters to the offers of temporary housing for businesses dislocated by the blaze.

A week after the fire, our community is not forgetting those who suffered losses.

Mayor Rick Gottman announced that he has initiated efforts to seek help from the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

“We’re doing what we can to help them get relocated downtown,” Gottman said.

The city’s public works department is also offering to help get the cleanup started.

Now that we’re a week removed from that devastating fire, the cleanup is in the forefront of many residents’ minds. Like them, we want to see that cleanup work begin as soon and as efficiently as possible. That's the first  step in the long process of rebuilding that section of our downtown.

It will be a tough road back for those businesses, and for our downtown, but we’ve already shown within the past week – as we do anytime tragedy hits – that we’re ready and willing to work together as a team to help individuals and our community.