I was peacefully working on a top secret project when I first became aware of the helicopters overhead. There were at least three, thockthockthock, and I assumed that someone had jumped off the bridge or become lost. I continued peacefully entering data, and then the phone rang. Who, I thought, would call me at this hour?
It was Puff, who had gone for a walk.
“What’s up,” I said, “need me to come drag you out of a ditch?”
“Dude, something is on fire! Avenue H!”
“What? Wait, where are you?”
“I’m on Ninth, something on Avenue H, it’s huge!”
“Should I bother coming out?”
When I walked out of the house, the air felt a little duskier than usual, and when I looked to the south, I saw a plume of smoke. I started walking down the street, and tried to get a shot of the smoke, with a spurt of flame underneath.
You can’t see anything in the picture, but I think it’s the best picture to come out of my cell phone, so I’m posting it anyway. As I walked down Avenue H, I could see that the fire was getting progressively larger, and yet further away. A huge plume of smoke gusted down the street into my face, and soon I could make out Puff, leaning against a utility pole looking all casual.
This photo does not do it justice. One of the abandoned buildings was reduced to a skeleton of charred timbers. Only moments before, the entire roof caved in, sending out a cascade of sparks and smoke. It was pretty damn impressive. The cops, however, were less than pleased with our presence, and suggested that we depart the area. We started sauntering away, and I turned to get a parting shot while I schemed about getting around the other side to get more pictures.
As you can see, the cops blocked the street immediately in front of the fire, presumably to keep ruffians like us out. We waved at the nice policemen and started moving off down the street, ducking down a dark alley once we were out of view. As I suspected, it gave way to an ideal view of the fire.
The fire may look more contained here, but it was huge and majestic to behold. There was a chainlink fence in the way, but honestly I don’t think it would have been very safe to go much closer. It was…amazing. I could see firemen clustered around, outlined in the blaze, and I wondered if any of them were from the firefighting school down the block.
They had a huge hook and ladder spraying water down, and I was pleased to see that it kind of showed up in this shot. The news helicopter hovering overhead was sketching me out, though, so we headed back home for the night, helicopters lighting the way with spotlights.
Almost home, we ran into two gentlemen who asked us what was going on.
“A fire,” I said. “It’s pretty awesome, you should go check it out.”
And you know what? It was awesome. It wasn’t anyone’s house, and nothing major was in danger. It was just pure, beautiful destruction. Did the fire training school set it? Was it arson? A mistake? I don’t know, but it was an awesome way to round out my evening. The streets began to fill with curious onlookers, and I ducked inside to write this post and check news sites for a live feed, given all the helicopters. None such luck.
I smell a bit smoky and my throat’s all raspy. I guess that’s what I get for skulking around a fire. The things I do for you, dear readers.
Not for the first time, I long for a real camera. I could have gotten some amazing pictures out there tonight.
[Treasure Island fire]