Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

My next door neighbors' house caught on fire last Monday/Tuesday. They - Kevin and Kathy - had fire damage in the living room and smoke damage throughout the house. They and their three dogs (Tank, Dorie, and the bulldog, whose name I can't remember) and their three cats (Lefty, Gabriel, and Kitty) all got out, but their bird died. They got Lefty out right away, I believe, and then found one of the other cats at 3am and the final one at 8am.

I had almost fallen asleep. It was around 1:30am. I heard people talking outside and I thought it was awfully late for people to be out partying. Then I heard a siren coming closer and closer and then stopping somewhere very near, so I got out of bed and as soon as I got to the hall I saw lights flashing. I went to the window and peeked out and saw two fire trucks and a police car, so I threw on some sweatpants and went out to see what the heck was happening. Kevin and Kathy were standing on the sidewalk in their nightwear and bare feet and Kevin was coughing and having difficulty breathing. Firemen were running around and this loud generator was going and a spotlight was shining at the house and more vehicles arriving. It was so noisy. And smoke was just pouring out of their house. I could actually smell it in my house when I went downstairs before I ever went outside.

I knew they had three dogs and I was looking around for them and then an officer came up to me and said the fire started in the fireplace and they had gotten two of the dogs out. I asked if my house was in danger and she said, "Oh, gee, I don't think so." Very reassuring.

Kevin was taken away in an ambulance. Firemen started coming out of the house in their gear and carrying axes and other strange looking implements. Then Tank came out, very freaked by the noise and people and lights and smoke, and ran to the back where someone was holding the gate open for him. We (me and my other neighbors, Mary and Jerry) went over to Kathy. She said Kevin was suffering from smoke inhalation (he ended up staying in the ER until 5am) from trying to go back in to get Tank. He later told me that Tank has a kennel in the kitchen, but the smoke was so thick he couldn't find it.

Kathy's daughter Jen arrived and came running down the street to her mother and they cried and hugged. It just gave me chills. (Ironically, Jen's husband is a fireman.)

Finally things settled down a bit. Kathy and Jen went to sit in her car. I went back inside but I was just wired and my heart was pumping and my feet were frozen from standing on the cold sidewalk for an hour with no shoes on (this was the night it got in the 30s). The fire trucks left and the police cars left and the spotlight was turned off and just when I thought it was going to get quiet this van showed up and this guy started sawing wood panels to put over the windows. I stayed home from work the next day because I could not get to sleep.

The next day they spent moving out all their furniture and clothes and stuff. I asked if they needed some help and Kathy held up her hands and they were black. She said I didn't need to be messing around in the soot too. The Red Cross set them up in a hotel for a few days and the insurance guy was scheduled to come out. They've been back a couple of times since then getting more stuff. There is a sign on the window saying the house has been condemned, but I believe that's just until repairs are made and the place is cleaned up. I don't know when that will happen. I am assuming it still will.

My Kevin, my Mom, my half-sister Kim and Kim's daughter Christianna, and I went to see the Philharmonic perform on Saturday. It was supposed to be this piano award winner but she was ill so they got someone else to do the part and he was EXCELLENT. Such a light touch on the piano. You could really feel what the music was expressing. The current conductor is leaving at the end of the season and they have begun the search for his replacement. I hope they find someone as charismatic and talented as him. He really brought the Philharmonic up from where it was. Mom and Kevin and I are going to be going to the Bugs Bunny on Broadway concert in May. My understanding is they will play the music from the cartoons while the cartoons show on a screen behind the orchestra. I think that will be fun! Ride of the Valkyries starts the show. I was standing in my kitchen trying to remember how it goes and then it hit me - "Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit..." The classics and cartoons, what a combination. :)

No new activity on the part of my carpet, as far as I can tell.

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