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.