26 September 2011

the fastest (and slowest) 20 minutes ever

Last week at work I went outside for a moment in the late afternoon. (better get this done) It's been rather hot in my neck of the woods and I had both air conditioners blowing. (freakin hot - better get this done) It was getting close to closing time and I had one last thing to do. (one more thing to do then it's time to fly outta here - happy face - skipping)

So I was outside, and I smelled fire (really strong) and thought it was the burnt area across the street. (gad that reeks)  In an area of a few blocks, we have had a handful of random (not so random) grass fires. The fire across the street had burned the entire shoulder and started a few trees. (glad i wasn't here to witness that, i'll say) The old historic boarding house did not burn down (a miracle, i'll say), and this fire as well as the others are now considered arson and under investigation (hope they catch the fucker)

As I paused, I heard from behind me a crackly sound (huh) kind of like someone bunching paper to throw in a trash can. (wha da) Crackle. Crackle. (oh shit) Only it wasn't bunching paper; it was a fire. (oh shit oh shit)

If you have ever heard a wild grass fire, the sound stays with you. (it's very distinctive) As does the panic. (run away) I whipped around to see what I expected to see. (it's too close) Flames and smoke climbing the slope. (it's alive) Coming straight at me. (making a bee line)

I ran as if in a dream. (those are my feet) I ran in slow motion. (make them go) I ran saying Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit! with every step. (faster) I ran to the telephone by my desk. (pick up phone) And the really remarkable thing is I ran toward the fire. (i must be insane)

I pressed the numbers 9 1 1 and waited. (come on come on come on) They answered. "What's your emergency?" "Fire!" I was hyperventilating and really freaking out. (fire fire fire) I was re-directed to the town's fire department. (come on come on come on) When they got on the line, I gave the exact location and told myself to calm down. (stop screaming)

This all took about 8.3 seconds, but damn those were long seconds. (now what - what now)

I went outside to assess the situation. (wow) Meanwhile the fire was going into the trees. (come on - get here already) Have you ever seen a tree ignite during a wildfire? (freakin scary)  Looks like a giant match being lit. (a giant exploding match)

The fire department still had not arrived. (what is taking so long)

I grabbed my stuff and threw it in my car. (what am i forgetting) Ready to fly if the place goes up in flames. (where did I put my key)

As I'm coming back from my car, I noticed the smoke lingering like fog. (trippy) I had a weird sensation that I would be the only witness to see the place burning down to the ground. (i'll take pictures) I decided I would not go back inside. (might get trapped - no back door) I decided I did what I could do, now it's up to the experts. (no sirens yet)

Then the fire department showed up (like magic) and put out the fire. (yay) No buildings were damaged. No trees fully caught flames. (yay) Whew!

In all the flap, I was proud that I didn't piss myself but I did manage to sprain my neck. (jeez judy) Probably from whipping around. (and being tense) I'm wound up pretty tight when it comes to fires. (like a fully loaded cannon)


  1. Scary! I'm glad you were right there to hear the fire and call the fire dept.

  2. OMG how totally frightening Judy!! I'm so glad everything was resolved. I grew up on the waterfront where hurricanes and tsunamis were an underlying threat, but it was fire that scared my folks the most. It still scares me the most, and I live in earthquake country now.
    Really makes you take stock of what's important enough to you to throw in your car and get out.

  3. Thanks Christine! I was fleet of foot, sort of.

    Hi Sheri. Fire is something else. I know about earthquakes too. What is important? Your life and every one you love. Everything thing else is nothing but a memory.


Thanks for sharing!