Friday, March 4, 2011

Water gives life. Water takes it away.

By the time we pulled up to our neighborhood the night of August 25, one house was already engulfed in flames.  The smoke was so thick I nearly hit the fire engine in front of me with my Prius.  That would have really helped the situation!

I could see water spraying through the air, but it seemed to vanish into the smoke before touching the fire.  The flames towered at least twenty five feet over where the roof to our neighbor’s house once stood.  There was little to enclose now, though the black rod iron fence gave the illusion that there was.

Our house was on the other side of the street, and I wanted to believe it would be safe even though the flames shot through the air.  It would take one gust of wind – and they were at least fifty miles an hour that night – blowing in the right direction to catch our house on fire.  Unfortunately that’s exactly what they did.

While I was waiting for Dan, who had run in to rescue our dog and some photos and whose phone had died in the meantime, I willed him to turn on the sprinklers, believing that they could somehow save our house.  Apparently I had little faith in the capabilities of the firemen’s hoses. 
In the days that followed, I would hear side conversations about men who boldly stated they would have stayed and fought the fire themselves, their chests puffed.  It was hard to hear such brazen statements, especially since one person died in the fire.  As sad as it was to lose our house, losing my husband would have been infinitely worse.  Beyond that though, the sentiment was illogical.  Firemen were drawing all the water in the area.  Dan did turn on the garden hose, and a little dribble escaped.  Sacrificing one’s safety to fight with the wrong tools only makes one a fool! 

Bonus: two posts for today.  This is based on the prompt: Water gives life.  Water takes it away.

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