In our office we have a scanner so we can hear if there is any breaking news, particularly of an emergent nature, that we nature need to cover. As a general rule we keep the broadcast fairly low, but high enough that we would be alerted to any big happenings.
On Tuesday I heard a call that included the words "Wetzel County Center for Children and Families". I immediately "shushed" the office so I could hear the call for help. After all, my daughter is a student there.
It said there was a power line down near it. Honestly I didn't think too much of it. Downed power lines happen and our local emergency crews respond accordingly, keeping the public safe. I went on about my business which included an appointment outside of the office.
The playground at the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families.
It wasn't until later in the day that I learned of the potential serious nature of the incident. You can read the story at the link on this page for more details.
Well, Staff Reporter Miranda Stokes and I were having a hard time getting any information about the event - official or unofficial. So later in the evening I asked my husband to have my daughter give me a call so I could "interview" an eye witness.
Joellen was not interested in being a media darling - well at least not for a newspaper reporter. Perhaps like many reluctant informants, a television camera would have helped. Her simple response was, "Watch the video online." Gee, thanks a lot kid.
She did finally talk. I didn't even have to bribe her with a sugary treat. She told how her class, Mrs. (Leslie) Emch's group, and Miss Ashley (Goddard)'s class were on the playground when a big truck with what she described as a "tractor bigger than our house" on the back hit the wires, causing the pole to break. There was a big bang and this sound (she made a sizzling noise). "It was kind of like fireworks, but just one yellow thing," said my not-so-confidential informant.
"Was it scary?" I asked.
"No, it was kind of neat, but some of the kids were scared."
Thank you to Mrs. Emch and Miss Ashley and their aides for keeping the children safe and calm. Thank you for herding them together in the safety of the playground's center until an "all clear" could be determined and thank you for blowing some entertaining bubbles while you waited. Your quick, calm actions may have been lifesavers.