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To the editor,

My name is Mitchell Frederick Bunce II. My grandparents are Morris “Pop” Adair and Virginia “Grandma Adair” Adair. My family lost them both in the house fire at 431 Strickland Loop the night of Aug. 17. I write this in response to the article on the front page of the Sept. 4 Reporter.

I would like to preface my comments with two items,

1. I have been trained as a firefighter by the Cherokee County Fire Department at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC), so I am aware of procedures and protocol on the scene of an active house fire.

2. My grandfather, Morris Adair, fought for the rights of every American and firmly believed in the right of free speech and freedom of the press.

Having said that, I find myself disgusted and appalled by the front page of the Reporter on 4 September 2019; for 2 specific reasons. Reporting the facts of what happened, and the love of my grandparents for each other, was excellently done one week ago. The loathsome display put on today is another matter entirely.

I am beyond angry that the editorial board of a “professional” newspaper would allow the picture of one of my dead or dying grandparents to grace its front page. My family and my grandparents are not here for your profit or agenda. The obliviousness to our pain makes me beyond angry. How dare you! 

Beyond that, I read in the article of the criticism of our fire services. Monroe County Fire was already on the scene of an active fire so City of Forsyth was toned. They responded in 7 minutes. 7! Unrolling hoses and making entry takes time, and if you don’t believe that, please, suit up and man a hose. When the fire department arrived the roof had already started to collapse into the structure, and anyone that has manned that hose knows you don’t go into a fire like that. Those firefighters risked their own life to attempt to save my grandparents when every procedure said it was unsafe for them. We owe them a “thank you”. Their job is not only to save us, but to get back home to their family; and I believe I speak for my family when I say that their professionalism, courage and compassion brought my grandparents out whole.

I am not angry for myself about my grandparents’ death being turned into a political, professional and journalistic statement, complete with pictures. I am appalled that anyone in elected government, fire services or journalism would stoop so low as to use ANY picture of a dying fire victim on the front page without considering the impact it has on their family.  Shame on you all. I hope you sit back and evaluate this choice, because my grandparents would be ashamed to know that the county they chose to call home for the end of their life tried to make their deaths about anything other than the great love they had for each other and the service of the firefighters, EMS, deputies and state troopers that served and continue to serve our county so well.

Mitchell Bunce