When the year draws to a close, we reflect back on the news that defined the last 12 months. Put altogether, the headlines add up quickly and 2019 was no different-it was a “big” year for news. For some time now we’ve not ranked those stories as part of a Top 10 countdown but there’s no question that the biggest story of the year was the tragic death of four Imlay City children in a devastating home fire in February.
These days it’s rare to report on fatal fires and even more unusual when they claim so many lives at once. According to a news report, approximately 100 Michiganders died from fire-related incidents in 2019 as of December 16. Michigan State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer noted that fortunately the state was on track to see fewer fire-related deaths as compared to 2018’s 138 casualties but he said those numbers were still unacceptable and he’s right. These fire seem to hit the oldest and youngest the hardest. In 2018, the majority of fire casualties were adults-70 percent were over the age of 40-with the largest age group of fire victims ranging in age from 60-69 years-old. Michigan State Police report that in the month of October 2019 alone seven children died in home fires—among them were two other sets of siblings: two brothers from Grosse Pointe and three brothers from Lansing.
In the aftermath of such devastation, it’s hard to know how to move on but the Imlay City community was able to rally together behind the Imlay City Firemen’s Association and support the group’s efforts to purchase and install smoke detectors in more than 150 residences.
Tragedy can strike at a moment’s notice and there were several examples of that in 2019. Although technology and interventions have done so much to keep us increasingly safe, accidents can still happen and lives can be lost.
Many of the stories we covered in the past 12 months gave us serious pause, made us hold our friends and family closer and reinvigorated our support for causes that can keep more of our residents safe. We hope the same holds true for you too.