Unfortunately, we had a serious loss to our five-unit apartment in Ashuelot on Saturday, May 22.

Thank God, there were no injuries to any of the tenants. Thankfully, it appears that seven cats were saved, along with one monitor lizard. Sadly, one family lost four cats and a 41-year-old parrot, and another family lost a tank of fish and guinea pig. It was heartbreaking to see their grief. Even though they were covered with fur, feathers and scales, they were still family.

We are not able to find enough adjectives to compliment all the fire, EMS and police personnel who responded, starting with the town of Winchester Fire Department, who called for surrounding towns for help. We could not be more proud of the New England spirit shown by all of the fire departments and personnel who worked seamlessly and tirelessly, although exhausted, as one unit. The cooperation and coordination were remarkable. We don’t know how many were involved, but there was quite a crowd of dedicated personnel from Winchester FD, Winchester Ambulance, Diluzio Ambulance, Keene FD, Hinsdale FD, Richmond FD, Swanzey FD, Spofford FD, Chesterfield FD, Northfield FD and Warwick FD. Bernardston FD responded to cover the Hinsdale station. And the Chief from Southwestern N.H. District Fire Mutual Aid was there as well, lending support and assistance. The Winchester Police Department handled traffic control from both ends of the scene, as Route 119 was completely shut down in Ashuelot. Great job by all!

The scene was such that we wish all of America could have witnessed the harmony and unity that still exists in this great country of ours. What a great example, and proof that this great nation is not as divided as some would have us believe.

God bless America, and God bless New England.