Tonight, after a late evening at work, I stopped by my Dad's house for a few minutes. As I was walking to my car, I heard sirens begin to sound. To my surprise, they got louder and louder, until I saw the fire medic truck turn onto his street and race past me. And then, it made the right turn from that street onto the one where I live.
Well, I jumped in my car and followed it (well, not really followed - it was a coincidence that we were going in the same direction). Again, I was shocked when it stopped in front of my house. All I could tell at first was that there was an emergency of some sort across the street.
The next few minutes are now a blur. I was headed home to meet my friends Clark and Brian to catch a bite to eat and perhaps a movie. It turns out, they were there before me. And then there was a fire truck. And another. And still another. Then I saw a blaze streaming out of the front door of the house. Pretty soon there were at least five fire trucks, police, and a street full of neighbors. As it turns out, tragically, a raging fire claimed the life of a man whom lived just across the street from me. Here is a link to the account from WAKA, including video.
As we gathered on the street, I began to piece together what had happened. And then I saw Clark and Brian and began to talk to them. It turns out that they had arrived before almost anyone knew what was going on. They saw the fire and were beckoned to help by one of the residents of the house. They tried. They tried mightily. But the flames were too hot and they could not get inside. By then it probably was too late anyway, and when the firefighters arrived it was.
We stood there in shock. I've never been that close to something like this, and my friends certainly had not. We wanted to believe that somebody could have done something, but it was not to be. The fire was just too hot and it was spreading like crazy.
I really don't know how to put this in words, but I had to try. I'm know I'm proud of my friends and their heroic efforts. And I know that's not what they want to talk about. And so as we got away from the scene to try and process it, we talked about life. And how short it is. We all need to make the most of every opportunity, because we don't know which will be our last.
I'll never forget tonight - it's imprinted on my brain. I am praying earnestly for the family whom I regret to say I had not taken any time to get to know. I ask that you please do the same. My heart breaks for them.
Fire is hot. And spreads fast. Life is short. And fragile.