08 January 2011
Delivering the mail today, I drove past a customer who would normally have come to the truck, chatted a bit, and collected her mail if she was outside anyway. Instead, she was clearly agitated, and on the phone. I pulled past her house, and saw the reason why: thick black smoke rolling from under the roof of the shed behind the house next door. Her friend was leading a goat out from the building; I'm not sure what other animals might have been inside.
The photo was taken less than five minutes later from about a block away. The structure was fully engulfed that fast. And I felt exactly the way I felt when the kid was a baby, and we lived in Seattle, and I looked out the kitchen window one night and the house two doors down was a raging blaze. It was a hot summer night, and the kid was splashing in the bathtub. I plucked him up out of the tub, wrapped him in a towel, and ran outside. My urge was pure flight, even though it made no sense at all. We lived only two or three blocks from the neighborhood firehouse, and could hear the sirens before we'd even finished the call to 911. Were we any safer outside the house than in? No. But all I wanted was to have my loved ones with me, and be AWAY from there. Firefighters, I love you, but I sure don't have much of what you have inside you inside me.