Thursday, September 4, 2008

Burning Down the House


Today I was in my car, only a few blocks from my house, when I spotted smoke. It was a fairly small column when I first saw it. And I thought probably someone was just burning leaves in their back yard or something. But it was coming from a pretty suburban street where the houses are fairly close together and not really appopriate for burning anything, so I took a detour to see where the smoke was coming from. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I rounded the corner and saw a part of a house fully overcome with flames! Yet there wasn't a single emergency vehicle on site. In fact, it was like a ghost town. I thought for a minute that I must be dreaming. Why would there be this huge fire and no fire trucks, no ambulences? I guess I must have been one of the first people on the scene. The next door neighbor was just running from her own house, then, with her baby and phone in hand. I asked if I should call 911, but she was already talking to them. I pulled my car over and was about to run up to the house that was burning to see if anyone was inside, but another neighbor came out and said that the house was abandoned. Within 30 seconds, 5 more cars and pulled over and we were all trying to figure out what to do. We were all making sure no one was inside that house and the houses next to it. More cars pulled over and people were running towards us from all directions within a minute. One man even ran up to the door of the burning house like he was going to run inside and check for people before we were able to call to him that it was vacant. By that point, the whole side of the house bordering on the carport was engulfed in the deepest orange flames. The power wires overhead were on fire too and were crackling and popping. Even from across the street, the fire was so hot that I had to move further down the block. I've never felt a fire so hot. And within another 30 seconds, the side of the neighbor's house who had run out with her baby was melting. MELTING. Oozing down the to the ground in big melting gobs like it was made out of roasted marshmallow. Her car was dangerously close to the fire. I knew if I was feeling uncomfortably hot from across the street, her own car's paint would probably start to bubble and melt soon. I thought about asking her for her car keys to move her car, but just then the first emergency truck showed up. I figured they would have it all under control, so I got back in my car and left. Half the burning house was gone by the time I left. I couldnt' have been there longer than 3 minutes. Amazing how fast fire can burn! I drove back past the house a couple of hours later and it looked like the firemen must have gotten it out pretty quickly because the damage hadn't progressed where I saw it. But the poor neighbor. Her car was all melted on one side. Her hosue was completely melted off on one side. and her windows were all open, so I'm sure she must have sustained some smoke damage. Even though it was kind of tragic to see the damage that was caused, it made me glad to know that I live in a city where people care enough to help each other, to stop what they're doing and run to see what they can do. Things definitely could have been worse--no one was hurt. But still, my adrenaline was pumping for a good 15 minutes after I left the fire. You just don't see something like that every day!


Disclaimer: this picture is not the actual fire I witnessed. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera.

12 comments:

Holly said...

Holy crap! That is freaky! Im so glad no one was inside. Did you have your kids with you? maybe I missed that part, but wow, you're right, you just don't see that stuff every day!

Sara said...

wow that is pretty dang exciting! Sucks for the neighbor though.

Koreena said...

Wow! That's crazy! It is nice to know that so many people stopped, including yourself. That poor neighbor.

Becky, yep said...

OH MY GOSH!
how scary! I bet you'll have fire dreams tonight...yuck and those sounds...it's the sounds that haunt me!

Becky, yep said...

OH MY GOSH!
how scary! I bet you'll have fire dreams tonight...yuck and those sounds...it's the sounds that haunt me!

Kristine said...

Wow that is super scary! I'm glad no one was hurt. Did you have your kids with you?

Suzie said...

I love that you have so much to say on your blog. It is a pleasure to visit you here.
Your soundtrack is hilarious. Such a mix. I hope by now you have downloaded Jump & Sunshine so you can hear it. Don't deny yourself!

I saw the fire on the news. Freaky how fast it spreads. I was close to a ginormous fire when I was 20 and still remember it to this day.
yikers.

devri said...

You go girl, way to help out.. I bet that was sooo scary.. You da woman for going to try to save a life, you should get an award,, that's it, I'll make you one..

Omgirl said...

No, my kids weren't with me. I'm not sure if I would have stopped if they were. Probably just called 911 because I wouldn't want to put them in danger. And i actually worried about my car melting for a few minutes.

CaraDee said...

Arianne Arianne
Arianne the Fireman....

MiaKatia said...

Scary stuff. It is nice to hear that you live in a great community where people help each other.

Mindi said...

holy mother of fires!! i've never witnessed one but they scare the crap out of me. i was getting a visual of the house melting and it gave me the chills--how did you guys know there weren't any people inside?

did you ever find out where everyone was and what caused it?