Imagine waking up with no job to go to.
For dozens of workers whose employers were displaced by a predawn fire at the Coffey medical complex on Underpass Drive, that was the reality on Thursday morning. That’s dozens of Scott County families suddenly thrust into the dreaded scenario of lost income and uncertainty.
Yet, even in a small, tight-knit, rural community known for its compassion and neighbor-helping-neighbor mentality, reactions on the developing story on social media Thursday morning seemed to be high on scorn and short on empathy.
No one needs to be reminded that the Coffey medical clinic is at the center of a DEA investigation for its handling of opioid prescriptions. As news organizations, we will remind you anywhere because it’s part of the story and cannot be ignored.
But on a morning when four businesses have been destroyed, that doesn’t seem to be the central part of the story.
The central part of the story is how did the fire begin, and why. Those are questions for investigators to determine. Most of us aren’t investigators, and our speculation doesn’t mean much.
That leaves another integral part of the story: the many Scott Countians who have been impacted.
Doctors Coffey may have been at the center of the federal investigation, but still employed dozens of nurses, physicians’ assistants and others who rely on that clinic to pay their families’ bills.
And the facility was also home to three other businesses: Mark’s Family Pharmacy, Buckeye Home Medical Equipment and PT Solutions.
All of those businesses’ employees have also been displaced. Millions of dollars in merchandise has been lost. Business owners — who employee those Scott Countians and provide them with a livelihood — are left to sift through what’s left, file the appropriate insurance claims, and ponder their next step.
And that’s besides the clients and customers who have been impacted. There are sick people whose doctor’s appointments were suddenly canceled. There are folks whose medications were being filled at Mark’s Family Pharmacy who are at risk of going without until the appropriate records can be updated between their physicians and another pharmacy.
It’s easy to hit the “laughing” emoji or leave a snarky comment as we scroll through Facebook. But let’s also take a moment to remember those whose lives have been impacted.