|FIDDLING WHILE ROME
BURNS - Nero was the fifth of the
Emperors. He reigned for 14 years, from 54 to 68 A.D., with
the official name Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus.
According to the "Random House Dictionary
of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman, "Nero fiddled
while Rome burned" refers to "heedless and irresponsible behavior in the
midst of a crisis. In fact, the
legend that Nero "fiddled" while Rome burned itself began centuries
after Nero's time, in referring to how Nero fiddled away his time
on frivolous pursuits. As a noun, "fiddle" came to refer to a violin,
but as a verb, "fiddle" originally meant either to avoid one's
responsibilities, or to commit fraud.
"Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" has some additional
information. Nero seems to have been something less than all bad. For
one thing, he was a pioneer in what we would now call 'urban renewal.'
He planned to rebuild much of Rome and ran into a lot of trouble with
property owners who resented his condemnation proceedings.
Broadway At Rose Street
City could be on it's way to it's very own version of the great
Roman fire. According to documents obtained from LCUB, more than
100 fire hydrants in and around Lenoir City have been classified
as dead or inadequate for fire suppression.
(Click Here For List) Some have even
been covered with garbage bags. According to the State Fire
Marshal's office and the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS),
as of January 1, 2006, any fire hydrant failing to meet certain
flow specifications can no longer be connected directly to a
pumper fire truck.
(Click Here For
Broadway At Grand Street
Almost unnoticed, the lowly fire plug
stands unused for most of it's life, but just knowing the fire plugs are
there should give us a certain level of comfort and security not to
mention lower rates on our home owners insurance premiums.
Unfortunately the very fire plug you think would be used in the event of
a fire emergency at your home or business may not even work. One thing is certain,
insurance requirements state that adequate water flows, 500gpm/20
residual psi, must be available within 1,000 feet of structures to
provide full credit for fire hydrants. If not, insurance premiums will
skyrocket. The International Standards Organization or ISO has
determined that in most instances within the city, the fire flow need
could be more than doubled the 500gpm requirement.
(Click Here For ISO Data)
Brookshire can not take all the credit for
this one. It took him, the council and LCUB officials all working
together to create this mess.
The fire department is doing the very best they can given the
But the LCFD are the ones who, in an emergency, have to work with
the inadequate fire hydrants.
LCUB and City officials are well aware of the
low flow fire hydrant problems and will in the near future have
to take steps to correct the problems. In fact phase one of the
upgrade is already underway. Many may have noticed the utility
construction along Rock Springs Road and Forth Ave. It has been
a mess with all the rain. Seems that phase one is designed to
supply greater water flow to the Second and Third Avenue or
Horseshoe Bend area of the city to assure adequate water supply
for the fire hydrants in that area. Coincidently, this also just
happens to be the the same neighborhood where Mayor Brookshire
Apparently, with all the areas in and around
the city in need of water service up grades for fire protection,
the mayor's neighborhood comes first. Surely the LCUB power
board voted on this project before it was started. It's not to
say that this area wasn't in need of the upgrade, but who
decided which area of town gets the upgrades first.
Sources within LCUB who wish to remain
anonymous have stated that Fred Nelson, LCUB general manager and
the mayor's father-in-law, made it clear that he wanted the
upgrades in that area for the safety of his grandchildren. You can't blame him
for that, but I'm sure there are others grandchildren also in
need of proper fire protection.
The real tragedy of this story is back where
it started. Apparently like Nero, Mayor Brookshire and the city
council members have been fiddling while the safety and security
of the citizens is and has been at stake. The city will have a
new swimming pool, miles of walking trails and the buildings on
Broadway will look nice on the outside,
but this is comparatively insignificant when compared with a life
safety issue such as inadequate fire protection. It should be fair for all the citizens who are
currently at risk to expect the same swift water system upgrades
as has been provided to the mayor.