JONESBORO — Three fire deaths in less than seven days not only takes a heavy toll on the families and neighborhoods affected, but the firefighters who entered the burning buildings and tried to save the victims, Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver said, hours after a man died in his home on Parkwood Road.
Copenhaver said he was notified of the incident around 1:30 a.m., and said he takes such tragedies personally.
On Friday, a 62-year-old woman and 1-year-old girl perished in a fire in a home at 611 W. Huntington Ave. Two other children were rescued. Like the family, Copenhaver said the blaze greatly impacted the firefighters.
“That’s tough. That’s tough. You can’t prepare for that,” the mayor said. “You can practice that all day long. We see fires every day and we take it for granted.”
The crews who worked last week’s blaze returned to duty Thursday afternoon, and Copenhaver said the city has provided counseling. The mayor said he planned to meet privately with the firefighters, whom he said were deeply emotionally affected by the experience.
Veterans of the fire service often say they never forget when they lose a child, Copenhaver said.
The causes of both fires remain under investigation.
Jonesboro experienced no fire deaths in 2020.