The fire at Oak Cliff Metals has brought into play the role of a community's interests in relation to a private company's right to conduct its business.

Because of the recurrence of fires at the facility, the city must address this issue. It is not something the city sought but was laid before the council not by desire but necessity. And we citizens expect them to act in our behalf.

This latest incident is not an excuse to complain about the city or a political feather to be placed in one's cap but one of do we want to live in safety. Just what type of businesses will we allow to operate in a growing density of homes and future growth? And do we as neighbors of businesses, both existing and forthcoming, remain respectful of their right to operate while expecting them to do so in a manner that respects the reality of where they are? That we all are part of what is Waxahachie.

The lack of hydrants is a matter of water districts. As it is my understanding, the city will need that to change and at great unbudgeted expense, place new water lines to that area to combat any future fires. Which based on the past performance of the business will occur. Or by removing the permit, achieve an acceptable level of public safety that the current situation cannot offer.

Understandably, the economic impact of closing the company will affect more than the employees. The cost of cleanup of the site is still a factor. The loss of services offered is in question. Yet it is not a fault of an action forced on the city but one due to the inability of the company to ensure the safety of its neighbors. Nor is any action by the council an indictment of the salvage industry. It is a matter of what is best for Waxahachie in its entirety.

A public hearing is scheduled for April. Plan to attend. Until then, let's please educate ourselves to the reality of this subject. Contact our Council members as to our concerns. Move beyond the sensationalism and politically expedient. For our future, whatsoever that will be, needs our input.

Alan Fox/Waxahachie