Strength during a time of fear | Editorial

In the wake of three suspicious fires in Olga, it’s clear there is an arsonist in our midst. Instead of being overwhelmed by panic, let’s stay calm and be proactive.

As we rely on experienced investigators to get to the bottom of the alleged crimes, it’s possible that community members can help.

If you know of anything that might be pertinent to the case, call Fire Marshal Paul Turner at 376-2331. There is up to a $10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of an individual involved in the incidents. There is also a $5,000 reward offered by a private party under the same conditions.

While it’s important not to inundate law enforcement with calls, if you see anything suspicious, call 911 immediately.

Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien offers these tips for islanders.

• Keep your eyes open for unusual vehicles or people behaving oddly in your neighborhood

• Start a neighborhood watch program

• Make sure your smoke detectors are working and have fire extinguishers in the house

• Install outdoor, motion-sensor lights

• Don’t store flammable liquids in your home and keep combustible  substances at least 30 feet from the outside of your house

The havoc caused by these incidents is staggering to both the victims and emergency response volunteers. The money, the grief, the legal red tape, the months of rebuilding – it’s all a major devastation for those impacted.

We marvel at the strength of our tiny community. We carry each other’s heartache and help lighten the load. Thank you to all who have helped pick up the pieces.