I Know That Sound

It was 4:30 a.m. and I was awake.  I knew that sound.  I looked at the blinds and knew that color.  I didn’t need my glasses to know that something was on fire.  One quick glance out the window and I ran to the phone to call 911.  They had already heard.  Next to wake Van, throw some shoes and a coat on, grab my cell phone and go see if there was anything I could do.  I knew there wasn’t.  But there might be someone in need of comfort.

Ten minutes later, the firefighters had not yet arrived, and the flames were high and loud.  What sounded like fireworks going off had everyone out their front doors to see what was going on.  This is a small place.  The firefighters are volunteers and have to come from home.  The fire was two doors down, a barn and mobile home.  I decided that we’d better wake the folks in the house between ours and the fire, so another woman went with me to bang on the door.  We woke them up and they ran to move their RV away from the heat of the blaze.

The fire trucks started to arrive and set up lights and run water hoses.  We use tanker trucks here on the island, not hydrants.  The sky is full of smoke now, instead of flying embers.  It will be a couple of hours before the sun comes up and we can see the devastation.  No one knows if anyone was in the house or the barn.

I’m a light sleeper, and am always being told that I should use ear plugs to help me sleep through things like snoring and noisy computers and other people moving around.  I don’t.  Back in the mid-1970s I lived in a neighborhood that was afflicted by a fire bug.  He started with garbage cans and worked his way up to garages.  Very early one morning, I was awakened by the sound of fire.  A quick look at the curtains told me something was not right.  Then someone started pounding on my front door.  My garage was on fire.  It wasn’t attached to the house, and the firefighters got to it before it spread.  A week later, my neighbor’s garage burned.  The sound woke me again.  It’s not something you forget.

6:00 a.m.   I won’t go back to sleep.  Too much adrenaline.  I pray no one was in the house or barn, or that they got out safely.  It will be awhile before we know anything more.  There’s a lot less smoke, so the fire must be mostly contained.  The firetrucks are all still here.

One Response to “I Know That Sound”

  1. linnerlu Says:

    Oh Larkin, that is so terribly scary! It’s a good thing you woke your neighbors and got them out. (I’m with you, I want to be able to know what’s going on, so I won’t use ear plugs either.) Please write a follow-up so we will know that everyone is OK.
    hugs & hopes for a calm Christmas,

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