Towering Inferno lights up the November night!
I was sitting at my computer,
wracking my brain to meet a deadline for a new story for The Carrborro
News when someone else's misfortune became my good fortune! My wife
screamed in panic, "My God, our woods are on fire!".
In front of me, Nora
O'Donnell, a welcome and pleasing replacement to the beady-eyed
grotesquely right wing Joe Scarborough, was filling us all in on
the Tom Cruise wedding extravaganza in Italy. I enjoyed listening
to Nora, but Tom Cruise, with this wedding and his little boy giddiness
over his new found love kind of rubbed me the wrong way.... so if
there was going to be a fire to interrupt my work or TV watching...
this was the time.
I got up and walked the
15 feet to the window to look out. It took an eternity for me to
reach the window which allowed me to mentally prepare myself for
the worst by the time I saw what was actually burning. My mind was
overcome by the possibilities of what I might have lost. Our 1/2
acres of woods, right in the center of Carrboro- disastrous. My
dog Gordy's dog house, his warm little abode that protects him from
the winter freeze- a real disaster for both of us. He would have
to freeze and I would have to rebuild his doghouse.... The new well
house I had built for my rental property- disastrous- I'd have to
rebuild it.... The woods- with 75 year and older trees it would
take forever for them to grow back and instead of being Grizzly
Adams in Carrboro, I would be reduced to the Little home on The
Piedmont.- humiliating, that would be!...... The wood picket fence-
the only thing that keeps Gordy from roaming the outside world,
getting picked up by animal protection and costing me $50 a pop!
Expensive.....and disastrous(with The Carrboro News circulation
down, we're a little strapped for cash!). My work shop and the attached
storage shed- full of my tools and all the things that I don't need
now, but might possibly in the future- to replace them would be
expensive, not to name the amount of time I'd have to spend shopping(one
of my least favorite pastimes) to replace them....that would be
The well house and picket fence that didn't burn down!
Gordy's dog house and the workshop, shed and forest that didn't
Yes, I think you're beginning
to see the anxiety I was facing on that short walk to the window.
I looked out, hoping that my wife had been hallucination, but to
my great disappointment, I too saw the 30 foot flames leaping towards
the sky like ballerinas on the deck of the Titanic. No- this didn't
look good. I didn't want to lose my woods, my dog house, my well
house, my picket fence, my shed or my storage building attached
to the shed.
I was about to race out
the door when my reporter instinct kicked in. To hell with getting
out there and fighting the fire ASAP- go back and get your camera
so you can get a story out of it. I ran back to grab my camera when
I thought "Maybe I should call the fire department", but
at that very moment I heard the engines in the distance and then
shortly after saw the first fire marshalls approaching. No need
to waste a dime on a phone call, someone beat me to it!(I have a
cell phone that costs 10 cents for each call, so I really have to
use it wisely!).
I grabbed my camera and
raced out and you can imagine my relief when I saw that it wasn't
my dog house, my woods, my well house, my picket fence or my work
shop with the attached storage building...no thank God... it was
only my neighbors two story office/shed. Feeling relieved I walked
out to get a photo, which I was able to do, and luckily so because
once those firemen started shooting those million gallon an hour
water spewing fire hoses, those dancing ballerinas didn't have a
chance. As quick as my camera could reload for the second shot,
the once brightly lit building was suddenly dimmed.
The blazing fire
at it's peak.
The Morning after....
If you've ever seen a
fire picture in the news you'll notice that they are either of the
fire in full blaze or after it's put out and the structure is in
charred ruins. The stages in-between raging inferno and charred
remains lacks drama and excitement, and when put on the front page
would fail to sell a single extra paper. Thus I put my camera away
and waited for the next day to get the second photo. Not many newspapers
have the disc space to put up both pictures, while The Carrboro
News with it's 250 gig hard drives on it's twin processor server
can put up pictures not only of the fire(during and after), but
also of the dog house, picket fence, storage shed, woods and well
house. That is the sign of a truly 21st Century Newspaper!
And one finally thought
for all you homeowner fire fighters who want to tackle the blaze
before the firefighters arrive. While that garden house can saturate
any newly planted apple tree or tomato seedling, as witness by this
reporter last night, it is not match for a 2 story building encased
in 25 foot flames!