When the house caught on fire James Heyman was taking a nap in the upstairs west bedroom. That’s what he did almost every morning at that time and onlookers, Barker, and even the police told the fire fighters where he might well be. In retrospect--and that's the most dangerous phrase in the English language--all they would have had to have done was to have placed a ladder against the wall, broken through the wooden shutters with their axes, and they would have found Heyman in his bed. Maybe he already would have died of smoke inhalation but maybe he would have been alive. Now the Fire Department disputes this and say that they acted professionally and they are not shy in presenting their version.
What troubles me is that in a typical Palm Beach manner, this whole issue was swept aside. Why wasn’t this matter looked into publicly by the Town Council? And why when at least one resident—Gunilla von Post—says that she wrote letters to the editor at the Shiny Sheet criticizing the Fire Department didn’t the paper publish them? And why according to my sources has the Police Department even purchased or plans to purchase special equipment so police officers can enter burning buildings—a matter left exclusively to firefighters in most places.