Sunday, September 20, 2009

Station Fire - Signs of the Times

The Station Fire, at 93% containment, is making news again. Mount Wilson is once again in danger as thermal imaging has shown there are many underground hot spots. Apparently, fire can burn down a root line and create underground embers which can be blown by wind and create a larger fire. And the Santa Ana Devil winds are due to hit tomorrow night.

Before moving on from this topic, I wanted to share some of the many signs that have cropped up in town after the fire. This one is on the back of a motor home near the (closed) entrance to the forest.

This is at the entrance to the Deukmejian park. You can see the old winery clearly from the freeway. It was saved but the park remains closed.

I can't resist a little marketing 101 lesson. Up until the last week, it was a common to see firemen coming off shift and stopping to get a bite to eat as a group. These heroes look tired and worn and dirty. Their faces are often smudged with soot.

I saw a group of them leaving Starbucks one morning and it brought tears of gratitude to my eyes. Apparently the gratitude is a group sentiment. People are walking into restaurants and picking up the dining tab for firemen.

So there's a local news guy doing a remote from the burger joint up the street - Tommy's. His spiel goes like this:

"We're here at Tommy's burgers where a group of firemen are having dinner. [Camera pans to firemen and then cuts to a field piece of other local restaurants and shots of firemen eating.] Everywhere you go here in Sunland - Tujunga, residents are so relieved the fire has moved on and so grateful to the firemen, that people are spontaneously picking up the dinner tab for the firemen. Over at ___________ [local sit-down mom and pop restaurant], a woman walked in and saw a table full of firemen, asked for their tab and paid it. It was $180 with the tip. We were down at Taco Bell and witnessed people insisting on paying for the meal of the firemen walking in. And at ________ and __________[other restaurants], the owners picked up the tab. Clearly, the people here are so grateful that this fire has moved away from their homes and deeper into the forest.

The camera cuts back to the reporter in the field. "Yes, indeed, the folks around here are indeed grateful and here at Tommy's, the food isn't free but the people dining here have been so happy to see the firemen, hugging them and giving them the thumbs up."

OY! If that's not a marketing opportunity missed, I don't know what is! The BFF and I were sort of shocked. The manager at Tommy's was so generous with us when we managed the football snack shop, allowing us to purchase their famous chili for a song and resale it at the school for a handsome profit. We can't imagine him missing the chance for good publicity. But there must have been a disconnect somewhere.

The newcast must have had some impact because, the next evening, this sign appeared:

Residents have put up signs. This one was two houses away from an arm of the Mt. Luken's fire.

Alpine Village showed their gratitude too. And so did businesses.
And now, their are signs up everywhere adversing duct cleaning, ash removal and of course from contractors wanting to rebuild.

Which has led to the appearance of these signs:



1 comment:

ordinaryjanet said...

It's heartwarming to know that there are good people out there who are willing to show their appreciation. But I'd think that the owners of all those establishments would give the firemen free food and drink, and not wait for some citizen to pick up the tab.

And on the flip side of disaster, we have the scavengers and predators who see disaster as an opportunity for self-enrichment. I hope they go to Hell.