Author: Amy

The City of Rochester’s Fire — David Miller

The City of Rochester’s Fire — David Miller

Granderson: City council members’ recording isn’t just offensive. It’s also illuminating

A recording of the city manager and city council members of Rochester, N.H., in August reveals a debate about whether to adopt new fire and public works policies in the wake of last year’s fire. (Contributed)

When I sat down with City Manager David Miller, I knew that our conversation would be about much more than fire. He was ready to talk about politics and the state of Rochester’s future.

And he would go there. So we began by going over the basics of the last year’s fire, the city’s response and the role the city played in the fire. What I learned when we discussed the fire was the type of fire response an entire community needs, but which a city can be expected to provide.

In the end, what emerged from our interview was a debate about whether to adopt new smoke detectors and fire hydrants, the role of water in fighting fires, and a new budget approach. But it was the discussion about smoke detectors that got Miller thinking.

Miller grew up in Rochester, and as a teenager he attended the funeral of a teenager who died in a house fire. The tragedy inspired Miller to learn more about fire and the risks it poses. He has become an expert in fire and the types of fire prevention measures that could keep us safer.

“It’s a conversation that’s becoming more and more vital and more and more evident,” Miller said in his office the afternoon after the fire. “How do we make sure that we are able to be a resilient community?”

That’s what I learned as I sat down with Miller.

City manager David Miller, the city’s only African-American mayor, will run for lieutenant governor in November. At left, with City Council President Rich Mele, the city manager joined Rich

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