The House Next Door Burned the Other Night

So, I woke up a bit after four to hear someone talking outside. Not scared or alarmed, it seemed to me. Just normal talking. Then I heard some glass breaking and, in my still sleep-addled state, what sounded to me like someone stepping on the glass to make it break more. We live in a somewhat seedy area with some strange people in it, so I wasn’t too concerned.

But after a few minutes of a steady pop, pop, pop, I got to wondering why they were carrying on so long. Finally, I opened my eyes and immediately noticed a red glow on my ceiling from the fire burning twenty feet or so from my bedroom. I hopped up and, sure enough, flames were shooting out from under the eaves of the little house next door.

My sister, who must have awoken just a few minutes before me came in my room and we wondered whether we should leave or not. By then, we could hear the firemen coming so we got dressed, just in case, and stayed put.

Though they arrived quickly (and in force!) it seemed a long time before they got their hoses set up and started working on the fire. I learned later that the lady who lived there was already out and safe. Since she was the only occupant and there apparently wasn’t any immediate danger to our apartment building or any of the houses around, and since the house was going to be a total loss anyway, perhaps the firefighters decided not rush to get it out. At least, that’s my theory. Rushing can sometimes get people hurt.

However, the wind shifted and sent sparks flying up against our building and shooting right past our windows! I know that if the fire fighters thought there was a danger to us, they would have made it abundantly clear for us to get out, so I wasn’t worried but my sister admitted later to being nervous. I figured, too, that they’d have sent someone up to our roof to keep an eye on where the sparks landed up there. And we were fortunate that it was raining pretty heavily at the time, too.

Today, while the house still stands, I’m sure it’s completely gutted. There’s a large pile of charred debris that the fire fighters tossed out of a window by the alley. I found out this afternoon that the fire started with a malfunctioning space heater. I own and use one at times but, gosh, I’d never use one while I was sleeping or even when I was going to out of the room for more than a few minutes. But that house is nearly a century old and probably not insulated well, so that would explain her using one.

I’m glad the lady is OK. I hadn’t seen her for quite some time so I wasn’t even sure anyone was living there anymore. I’m sorry that she, or anyone, has to go through that kind of experience.

One weird thing before I go. I’d been finding myself thinking lately about way back when I was in middle school and one of my classmates was telling some other kids about a fire that happened in her apartment building. She said she and her family heard what they thought was hail outside but when they looked out they saw flames coming up the side of their building. So, I had been wondering these last few weeks if I would know what fire would sound like. Well, now I know that I didn’t. To me, it sounded like someone stepping on glass or, toward the end before I opened my eyes, like maybe someone popping bubble wrap. Don’t know if that was a premonition or not but I’ll make sure to check a lot sooner if I find myself in this situation again.

Darn. I thought I was in MPSIMS. I’ll have a mod move it.

Thread relocated to MPSIMS from IMHO at the OP’s request.

I don’t know where you live & therefore, don’t know anything about your local fire dept & their procedures; however, I don’t know of too many fire depts who don’t rush to extinguish a fire.
In my area, as in most, the nature of the dispatch determines the order the trucks go out. Some fire trucks have water tanks on board to be able to start fighting a fire as soon as they pull up, even before hooking up to a hydrant while others do not. For instance, if it was dispatched as a house fire with entrapment, they may have sent the ladder truck first as the most important thing is to be able to get the trapped occupant(s) from the 2nd/3rd story bedroom. If they were using an aerial platform, they need to set the hydraulic outriggers (for stability) first before they can raise the hydraulic ladder & spin it around into position. Perhaps they need to reposition the truck from where it stopped because of power lines. All of these things take time before they can start putting water on the fire.
Especially if it’s a volunteer FD, possibly they were waiting for the FAST team before making entry.

Second, the fire officer in charge will take a few seconds to assess the situation - Where in the house are the flames coming from? Which way is the wind blowing? Are any other structures in jeopardy of catching fire? & get organized - I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a large A/B/C/D or 1/2/3/4 spray painted on each side of the house. It’s not like TV where they’re off the truck before it even stops & are running around like Keystone [del]Cops[/del] firemen & running right into the building.

Thanks, Spiderman, for that explaination. I was just thinking that, since the only occupant was already out and was able to tell them no one else was in there and that the house was obviously going to be a total loss anyway but other structures weren’t in danger, that they were taking a little extra time to make sure the fire fighters stay safe while doing their job by going about things in an organized way. From my standpoint at the time, it seemed a little odd but I certainly trust their judgement. They did an excellent job all during the fire and were there for a long time afterward cleaning up and ensuring the fire didn’t restart, too. I’m truely thankful to all firefighters everywhere.

This would have been an excellent time to use one of the more unusual words:

Ucalegon a neighbor whose house is on fire.

I suspect the opportunity was missed, though.

I suspect I’m being whooshed, but that word isn’t in the Shorter OED.

When I was a kid our house burned down in the middle of the night. We were all inside and we all died.

Not really, we all got out in time, but we were really lucky that we had a side door. Without it we would’ve been trapped.

It’s in Webster’s Second Unabridged.

It would be cool to be able to use that word in Scrabble. I love unusual words like that.

Sorry I haven’t posted sooner. It’s been hard for me to get to my computer lately.

You can try, I guess. Maybe your opponent won’t notice it’s a capitalized word and thus not allowed.

Darn! Another evil plan down the drain. :slight_smile:

The neighbors across the street from us when I still lived with my parents burned down twice in 10 years. Fire started in the same place both times. Didn’t burn to the ground but was badly damaged enough that it was unlivable for months. The first fire was in the middle of the afternoon while they were at work (our next-door neighbor beat my dad to calling 911), second one was in the middle of the night, whereupon we awoke to the whole street filled with emergency vehicles and our driveway being used as a staging point.

Their homeowner’s insurance must have been hell by time they moved out a couple of years ago. New family has not burnt it down yet.

Give them time, maybe. Seriously, I hope they never have to experience what the previous tenants went through.

I was still lying in bed this morning when I heard sirens stopping nearby. Got up to see them in front of the apartment building across the street. Fortunately, it was a false alarm and the fire fighters were in and out in minutes.