Thursday, March 26, 2009

bad day

I watched my neighbor's house burn today.

I smelled smoke and ran outside, phone in hand, ready to dial 911 but the sound of sirens reached me a moment later.

I thought of those that live in that old stone house - we see Bill everyday, walking around the neighborhood with his little dog, carrying a cup of coffee and chatting with neighbors. There's Bill and Bonnie, we'd say, making sure to wave as he passed by. Bonnie would run after a squirrel and Bill would wait patiently, continuing on only after he was certain the chase was over. Bill is said to be married, but we've never seen his wife. We hear she's very ill.

Oh no, I thought, are they in there? Do I run up to the house and pound on the door? If I did, would they hear me? No, I couldn't. Shouldn't. There was just too much smoke. I felt helpless. Nothing to do except shiver in the rain, stunned and shaken as thick black smoke billowed out of the house, further darkening an already gloomy day. All the prayer I could manage as the fire trucks arrived was a whispered, "Oh God."

As the hoses filled with water and the firemen began breaking windows, flames engulfed the roof. A home, a life, destroyed - I couldn't watch anymore.

We're still waiting for news.


Jennifer said...

You and your neighbors are in my thoughts and prayers. Keep us updated. That's awful. I hope they weren't home. Things can be replaced.

agg79 said...

Sweet Jesus. I can only hope & pray they were not there when it happened. Jennifer's right. Homes can be rebuilt. People & pets cannot. My heart goes out to them.

And don't beat yourself up. You tried to help, but sometimes things are beyond your control. Your concern for them shows and I hope you are right in your prayers for them.

Anonymous said...

I, too, watched my neighbor's house burn just last month. Fortunately, he was there and informed us that all were out of the house. It's such a helpless feeling. We tried to rush in and out the garage saving whatever we could grab and drag out. I almost cried when we later found out two kitties were missing. Thank goodness, they turned up safe a couple days later.

I hope your story has a better update soon. I'm thinking about you and your neighbors.

drjim said...

Oh, man.....I hope your friends are OK.

Wai said...

You're all in my prayers.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Oh dear.

jlhinbrisvegas said...

My thoughts and prayers are with your neighbors. I hope they are ok.

Old NFO said...

Thoughts and prayers for all of you.

Miz Minka said...

Sometimes "Oh, God" is all the prayer that is necessary.

Hoping and praying that your neighbors are OK.

Eseell said...

Oh my. I hope everything turns out okay.

Hobie said...

Prayers said for one and all. A terrible thing.

Lydia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lissa said...

Absolutely awful, Breda. I fervently hope that things are as least-terrible as is possible when a home burns down :-(

mattcaron said...

There is nothing you could have done. You ARE helpless - and you will stay alive that way.

When we go into buildings, we're wearing gear which is designed to not catch fire and (more importantly) wearing air packs so we can breathe. The hoses we carry can deliver in a minute what it takes your tap an hour to deliver.. and if we're talking something mounted on a vehicle, it will do 3-10 times that amount.

By the time it is through the roof like that, we generally don't go in, unless we know for a fact that someone is in there alive - in general, at that point, they won't be.

Today's useful tips:
- Have smoke alarms
- Have CO detectors
- Make sure the above work
- Have several fire extinguishers scattered throughout the house.