I was hoping to dedicate my first post to some benign about-me shindig. Instead I find myself actually having something important to blog. Really wish I didn't, in fact.

"There's a fire in the basement; get out!"

That's what I woke up to this morning, along with my mother running out of the house. I didn't know how much to panic. I put on my shoes and couldn't find my dog, so I grabbed her muzzle, thinking of the parking lot swarming with fire fighters and police officers. We didn't know what to do with the box of kittens, only a day old. They got left upstairs, even after my mother went back up to get my dumb dog out of the house.

My neighbor Steve was leaning over the porch railing, coughing and spitting onto the ground. His (very pregnant) wife had been the one to run upstairs and warn us. A small crowd was already gathered outside of evacuated tenants. There was a police officer directing traffic, and sirens in the distance. When I touched the railing on the porch, it was incredibly hot. I thought I could feel an incredible heat, imagining the entire foundation of the house ablaze. It wasn't good. I wanted to scream out, "Please help" when the fire truck finally ambled into the parking lot.

The last time the fire fighters were here, they tore up to another apartment building to find that the "blaze" they came to put out was a pizza box in an oven. It was surprising then they are didn't find a large stash of drugs in the person's apartment. This time they walked slowly to the basement as if they didn't believe us.

The crowd of people had migrated and clustered together, staring on. A lot of people were smirking. I couldn't bear to stand by them so I went to the truck where my mother had put my dog and made sure she could breathe in the heat. I realized about then that it was probably just the summer heat I felt, not a blaze that was consuming the entire foundation of the house. Still I had to know exactly what had happened so I could assess the level of danger for myself.

It didn't take long for my mother to come back with a full report of what happened. Living with a busybody manager has its perks. She told me that a pipe had cracked in the basement and was leaking water near a bunch of wires. What they thought happened was that now and then water would hit the wires and send sparks flying. Each time that happened, some flames might have ignited.

My neighbors had been up earlier socializing over coffee when the smoke detector went off. They have access to the basement in their apartment. It's very good to know that it's in safe hands. When Steve opened the basement door he said he smelled wires burning. He saw fire and told his wife to call 911, then confronted the problem himself.

Steve had the initiative to use his fire extinguisher on the flames, which was what caused him to cough and choke so much later. The fire chief said that if not for this the fire would not have been contained as well and could have been more serious. If my neighbors had been gone, those sparks and flames would have kept going until the entire basement really was a blazing inferno. Even if Steve hadn't had the nerve to do anything but leave his house, who knows what might have happened?

I've known too many people who lost their homes or businesses to fire. For a while, I felt the acute possibility that I was about to become one of them. I gave Steve a very big hug and thanked him for what he did.

Thank you, Steve.
2 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I'm so glad everyone was ok! In my town, sometimes I drive past houses which are all black and burned down, and wonder what happened. It's sad.

    I don't live in Maine, but I'm just visiting. =) I come to Maine from time to time.

  2. Dae Dreams Says:

    Thank you. Aw I was hoping you were a fellow Mainer. Well, at least you stop by. :)