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Passers-by were heroes in tragic Dunedin fire

Too often in our world, the news reports are about people who turn away from a person who needs help. That's why there is some measure of comfort to be taken from the otherwise tragic story of a fatal Dunedin apartment fire.

There were people who ran toward the fire. They used every resource at their disposal to help. They got involved at no small risk to themselves.

Keli and John Isett were taking an exercise walk well before daylight Wednesday morning when they smelled smoke and then saw flames in an apartment at 3067 Belcher Road north of State Road 580.

They had no cell phone. No one was around. The neighborhood was still asleep — but not for long. The Isetts began yelling and banging on doors and windows. At first, no one would open their door, but the Isetts kept up the noise until a resident handed them a phone to call 911.

They didn't stop there. John Isett tried to kick in the door of the burning apartment, clearly planning to attempt a rescue of anyone inside, but found the door blocked by something behind it.

By then, nearby residents were scrambling to help. One wielded a fire extinguisher, another a garden hose, until firefighters arrived.

That the lone resident of the burning apartment, Larry P. Leclair, could not be saved does not detract from the residents' efforts. They did all they could. The lives of the other residents of the four-unit apartment building no doubt were saved by the Isetts, who sounded the alarm again and again until someone listened.

Those who read the story about the fire also can take a lesson from it: When you are out for a walk, carry a cell phone and identification. You never know when you will need them.

Future transportation

Earlier this year, residents were invited to meetings to tell the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority where they thought future mass transit lines should go.

Now, TBARTA wants to hear what kind of mass transit vehicles you'd like to ride in on those lines.

Express buses? Light rail or monorails? Ferries?

Hot air balloons? (Just kidding!)

TBARTA's job is to develop a transportation master plan for seven West Central Florida counties. Starting later this month and continuing into August, residents are invited to community meetings to share their ideas about what type of mass transit the region needs.

The community meeting for Pinellas County will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, off East Bay Drive in Largo. Since the meetings will be workshop-style, residents can come in and leave whenever they like during the two-hour period.

Or if you can't get to a meeting, you can share your thoughts online. These online meetings — what a great idea! — will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 22 and from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 6. To participate in the online meetings, go to and click on the "Meetings" tab for information.

With gas prices so high, residents should be eager to share their ideas for ways the Tampa Bay region could better manage the movement of people and goods in the future.

Passers-by were heroes in tragic Dunedin fire 07/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 3:34pm]
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