Why no more information about fatal fire on Dec. 5?

“The news is something someone else doesn’t want you to know.” — Often wrongly attributed to George Orwell, more likely said by William Randolph Hearst

In case you’ve already forgotten it, there was fatal fire believed to have been electrical in nature at a house just north of Wayland on Sunday, Dec. 5.

Though it was more than 10 days ago, there has been no report on the identity of the deceased and there has been no information provided on the cause of the fire.

All this does is invite curiosity, particularly from a pesky community journalist such as myself.

“Inquiring minds want to know. I want to know.” — An ad during the 1980s for the National Inquirer.

I have no clue why it’s taken so long for the victim to be identified, but I do know the matter was referred to the Michigan State Police for an investigation. Why?

There are tantalizing clues, but no answers.

I asked Leighton Township Fire Chief Matt Weston about it, but he said he didn’t know anything more than I did.

It was on the Leighton Fire Dept. Facebook page that a woman named Samantha Piotrowski Griffin with Hopkins connections, posted to firefighters: “Thank you so much for all of your hard work. This was my ex husband and the father of my two kids. I hope he has finally found the peace that had been lost for him for so many years.”

Someone replied to Samantha’s post with: “Samantha Piotrowski Griffin we were friends from Otsego. He fixed our vehicles. We were guests in his house, as he was a guest in ours… Even offered grace over Easter dinner! Talked about the drama and losses in his life. Talked so often about his dad and the children. Spoke kindly of you. We stopped by one evening. He was upset that No One had remembered his bday! We said sorry…asked him to check out a car part in the trunk…out popped a big balloon bouquet. He was so surprised! One escaped and got caught in the tree in his front yard for about a year. We brought pizza and cake. Made a bday picnic right in his driveway. He laughed so hard! (We were forgiven).

“We agree with you that maybe he found his peace that passeth all understanding.”

Another posted, “The man who died in this fire was an old friend of ours. I know this must have been a very difficult situation for the firefighters. Thank you for all of your hard work. So thankful that none of the first responders were injured in this incident.”

I also asked the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department for what they might know, but was told there is nothing to report, at least for now. WOOD-TV Channel 8 had one story about the fire Dec. 5, but nothing since.

This reminds me of an incident I heard about almost 10 years ago when a Gun Lake man with whom I was acquainted was struck by a young lad driving a snowmobile and injured badly. I never saw any kind of a news report and all my attempts to obtain more information were rebuffed

Again, why?

The deafening silence of authorities in this case and in the Dec. 5 fatal fire serve no one I can think of. If it’s a matter of privacy, I fail to see how a serious accident and a fatal fire are none of the public’s business.

And we wonder why there is a lack of trust in our public safety institutions?

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