We know what you are thinking.
Only in a small town like Milton would a burned-out port-a-potty be worthy of a front-page photograph.
Yes, that is what appeared on the front page of our June 5 edition.
On the surface, it looks like we had a slow news week, but actually the opposite was true.
More than 500 acres burned last week in Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties. These fires put lives in danger. Area fire departments, as well as the Division of Forestry used valuable resources fighting the fires. At one point more than 10 wildfires burned at once. There were homes located near some of these fires and people told the local television news station that they were packing up their stuff, just in case.
In the midst of those woods fires, a home in Pace was set fire and officials suspect arson. The house was vacant and on the market for sale. The arsonist wasn't very good at it and apparently set several small fires in an attempt to get it going. Once they did, the house smoldered and burned overnight, unnoticed until morning when a neighbor saw water running down the driveway and a large hole in the house. Pace Fire Chief Donnie Wadkins called into the 911 Center upon arrival that the blinds were burned and melted. He could see them through the windows of the house.
After listening to fire after fire dispatched last week, there was something almost comical when Milton City firefighters went on scene of a fire call at Russell Harber Landing and called in, "Fully involved port-a-potty."
Then we saw the photos shot by our reporter who also responded. There were quite a few people in the area of the port-a-potty fire near the boat ramp. In fact, it appears more citizens were in danger from the fire at Russell Harber Landing than the woods fires in remote areas.
Obviously the toilet didn't catch fire by spontaneous combustion. Someone started the fire and it's our guess that person was in the woods nearby, watching it being extinguished.
Almost every single fire that ever destroyed homes or killed people started as a spark.
We didn't run the photo as a joke. It was not to make light of a serious problem this county is experiencing. It was intended to show how seriously local fire officials take any fire.
Yes, it was just a portable toilet. But the firefighters responding didn't know that until they got there. They ran with lights and sirens through traffic, over the bridge until they arrived. That action alone put lives at risk. While that fire truck was being used to fight a port-a-potty fire, it wasn't available to help at a potential structure, auto, or woods fire.
The smoke coming from that fire was toxic. Our reporter said it was thick and black. He saw it from the offices of the Press Gazette when he left to head to the fire.
Officials say there is a reward for information leading to a conviction of the persons responsible for setting some of the woods fires around our County last week. Call 1-800-342-5869.
Oh, and if you know who set the port-a-potty on fire, call Milton Police 983-5420.