Disservice done to firefighter in newspaper article

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To the Editor:
Those of us with the Morgan County Fire Rescue would like to formally rectify some false statements made when there was a front page article and report published on an accident that resulted in the death of one and critical injuries of another of our firefighters.

The initial story that was published on April 10, 2014 quoted the Georgia State Patrol and insinuated false allegations regarding the above events that have since been proven untrue according to the release of the incident report from the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab through an open records request.

As a result of this article and the false accusations those families involved incurred more hurt during the already sad time, thus affecting the entire fire brotherhood in this community. At the time of the publication’s release the accident was fresh and still under investigation.

There was a great disservice done to an outstanding man, employee and member of the community who volunteered with Morgan County Fire Rescue for several years before becoming a career firefighter. His legacy was indeed marred due to the implied “facts” of the accident.

We are highly disappointed by the press release quotes given by the Georgia State Patrol staff and the publication of such information before any further inquiries were made as to obtain the truth rather than just a front-page story and before the conclusion of a full investigation. In the future we ask that those that have authority and have a reputable influence in this community take into consideration the effect they have both positively and negatively on those that see their word as the sole truth.

The parties that contributed to these reports have indeed become less credible throughout this instance to those of us in and associated with the Morgan County Fire Rescue and other fire personnel in surrounding counties and the state.

Mark Melvin, Fire Chief Morgan County Fire Rescue

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