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A little scary

I woke up in the dark to the smell of smoke.

It smelled all campfire-y, like wood smoke, and the first thought I had was that we'd left one of our wooden cutting boards by something hot and it was burning. It seemed unlikely but there was no way I could go back to sleep without checking. So I got up, and looked, and there was nothing burning in the apartment. But it still smelled smoky.

And then I heard an alarm go off somewhere below, distant, maybe our building or maybe one nearby.

I tried to tell myself that if there was a fire in our building the alarms in the hall would be going off, but my imagination is far to creative to accept that as the only possible situation. So I woke Chris up and he decided he'd go out and see what was up. He got about two steps into the hall before he came back and told me to get dressed and come with him. It was even smokier smelling out there (no actual smoke, just smelled really strong). I grabbed my laptop (priorities!), stuffed it into my bag, and we went down the stairs and out front.

First we noticed one firetruck parked just around the corner. It seems the alarm I'd heard was from the building next door. As we wandered over, a fireman came out and announced that everything was fine to the people gathered around waiting. Chris and I headed back to our building, but I could still smell the smoke, and it looked like there was smoke drifting across the street at the other end of the block. I told Chris I wanted to have a look, and walked over. All we could see from where we were was a police car blocking off the street half a block down, and the red lights of various emergency vehicles a couple blocks further.

We didn't know until we went back in and turned on the news, but this is what we were seeing. (Well, the back end of it. The buildings with the fire are on the north side of the block and we could see the south side.)

Five hours later, it's still going. The whole apartment smells like smoke and periodically I hear a siren go by as another firetruck joins the fray. Thankfully, no one has been hurt--but wow. A whole block. One of my favorite independent clothing stores was in the middle of that. A video store Chris used to go to. I can't imagine what it's like for the people who lived in the apartments above. That's one of my biggest fears--losing everything like that.

We've walked by those buildings who knows how many times since we moved downtown a year and a half ago. It's hard to believe when we walk past next time, they'll be destroyed.



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 20th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
Yikes! Glad no one got hurt but I definitely understand that fear of losing everything.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 21st, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
It is! Chris walked down the street to check things out when we got home from work (more than 14 hours after the fire started) and it's smaller but still going. Thankfully the word still is that no one was seriously hurt--just some smoke inhalation.
Feb. 20th, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
Wow! I'm glad you all are safe & that no one got hurt. Fires are so scary & even if they don't directly affect you - they affect you. {{{Hugs!}}}
Feb. 21st, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
Thank you! It really is scary--especially because it's *still* going--I can't believe how long it's taking to put it out. And it's really sad hearing some of the stories--one of the stores that's been gutted (it actually collapsed there was so much damage) had been in one family for four generations... and it's all gone now. :(
Feb. 20th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
Goodness, how scary! I'm so glad no one's hurt but man, how awful to lose everything like that.
Feb. 21st, 2008 03:54 am (UTC)
I know! There was an interview with a woman who'd lived above on of the stores in the newspaper, saying she and her kids basically just got out with the clothes on their backs--all her ID and everything was inside, in the fire. :( And even if you have insurance, there's so much that can't be replaced.
Feb. 20th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
Very scary! I'm glad you were okay, but it hard to think of those who lost so much.
Feb. 21st, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
It is. I was reading some of the stories--the owners of one store that's now completely destroyed that's been in their family four generations, a woman who only got out with her kids and the clothes on their backs--and I started to tear up just imagining it. Knock on wood that none of us every has to go through that!
Feb. 20th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Oh jeez, that sounds terrifying. I'm so glad you're okay, but what a terrible end to a neighborhood. :(
Feb. 21st, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
It is really sad. Apparently that section of the street was only just designated a heritage site, too. :(
Feb. 20th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
Ohmigosh! 6 alarms-- I didn't know that existed. That's one big fire. I am glad everyone is safe.

It is weird, last night I had a dream that the entire block behind my house was on fire. Your post just made me remember it. Coincidence? I think so.
Feb. 21st, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
Apparently they go up to seven alarms! That is kind of strange that you dreamed about an entire block on fire when there was an entire block on fire over here. Unless you dream about fires a lot. ;)
Feb. 21st, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
Wow, 7! No, I don't dream about fires much. I must be psychotic. However, I also dreamed that my backyard was flooded like a pool and we had to swim to get out of it-- that didn't happen in your neighborhood, did it?
Feb. 21st, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
No, didn't have any flooding... Maybe that was someone else on your Friends list. :D
Feb. 20th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
super scary!
Feb. 21st, 2008 03:55 am (UTC)
Oh my. We're still waiting on our Perkins to reappear from the concrete parking lot where it used to sit. The hotel is back up. :(

I'm glad no one was hurt.
Feb. 21st, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
That's so heartbreaking, but I'm glad to hear everyone made it out. I hope you're able to get the smoke smell out of your place soon, as I know how unpleasant that can be.

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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Earth & Sky
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The Clouded Sky
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A Sky Unbroken
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Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

The Way We Fall
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Disney-Hyperion, 2012

The Lives We Lost
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Disney-Hyperion, 2013

The Worlds We Make
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Disney-Hyperion, 2014

Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
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self pubbed, 2014

Give Up the Ghost
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Henry Holt, 2009

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