This week, our region felt the loss of a local farmer caught in a house fire on his Dalton property. Before I write any further, I want to say that my thoughts are with his family and friends.
I was one of the journalists on scene on Monday. It was not how I, nor anyone else, had expected the day to begin. I was alerted by the many sirens in town, an indication the scene I was heading to was serious.
On arrival, I stood at the property's boundary, careful not to get in the way of the emergency services, and watched dozens of firefighters battle the flames. All I could think was, please, let the outcome be better than the one feared.
From time to time, I was distracted from the firefight by the unmarked cars driving on and off the property. At first, I thought it was more firefighters coming to help, which some were. But when a local pulled up beside me, to ask if the family was there, I realised they were locals, friends and other family members, racing to throw their arms around the family's children.
In a small, close-knit community such as Dalton, you are very aware that almost everyone will know who has passed. While that brings great sadness, I also believe that a small community such as Dalton can provide the best support to the family.
In the hours that passed, I discussed the harrowing scene with my colleagues, working out what our role was and how to tell the story. It can feel intrusive and insensitive arriving at scenes such as this as a journalist. You don't want to be obtrusive, but you have an important role to play.
For me, I can hear the questions being asked by the local community. The most important: Is it someone I know, someone I love? I try to navigate the story carefully, providing information that will rule out your loved ones, but protect the identity of those I cannot, so their friends and family may be told sensitively. I also try to face the unpleasant to provide the news in a way that's easier for our readers to digest.
I hope I did that on Monday.
The other challenge is what to do next. In these situations, I struggle to leave the story there, I want to offer practical help.
The children of this well-known and loved man lost everything on Monday and a Go Fund Me page has been created to take off the financial burden so they can grieve.
I will donate today and hope you can too.