We Sell Stuff.jpg

Firefighters spray water into the We Sell Stuff building on Southwest First Street in downtown Pendleton on Sunday.

The residents of Pendleton were able to see first-hand on Sunday just how important it is to invest in public safety.

The Pendleton Fire Department responded quickly and, along with firefighting crews from across the local area, battled a fire that gutted the We Sell Stuff thrift store at 342 S.W. First St. While officials are still investigating the blaze, the owner of the store, Greg Dixson, said he believed the fire erupted because of an electrical short.

Thankfully no one was seriously injured in the fire. But Dixson’s business is destroyed, and, let’s face it, the fire could have been far worse if not for the fast response of local first responders.

Not long ago the city invested in a new fire station that was built on Court Avenue. Fire crews are operating out of the new fire station and an open house for the new facility is slated for Thursday. Any time a city or a county invests in public safety it is expensive. Fighting fires or fighting crime in the community is costly and no one likes to pay more taxes.

But there is no more important public investment than in public safety. Expensive though they may be, police and fire services are — or should be — at the top of any city or county’s priority list.

The fire Sunday at We Sell Stuff was unfortunate. It will impact not only the business owner but those customers who frequented the store and other nearby businesses. Without the professional and quick reaction by the area fire departments, the fire could have gotten out of control and damaged other nearby buildings.

We all tend to take emergency services agencies for granted. We don’t think about the fire department until a fire breaks out. We don’t ponder police services much, until we’ve been robbed or suffered an accident. When tragic events happen, though, there are no more important people than the firefighter who arrives or the police officer who responds to an incident. Then their work, their expertise is the most viable element in our lives.

All of us can argue about the necessity of specific taxes. Let’s face it, often it seems like all the government agencies in the state and at the federal level seem to be reaching for our wallets. Yet when it comes to supporting public safety, it is easy to pay. Without these brave and competent men and women, our community would be a far less safer place than it is now.

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