There I was getting ready to leave to work the gate at the Football game tonight, when the Hubster comes running through the house yelling "Huge fire in that old house over the road!!"
Let me hastily say this has been an empty property for many years, but it's just across the highway from us.
I ran onto our porch and saw this awful sight....!!!!
As I got out there, there were two big explosions, probably propane tanks or something similar. My first thought was for our neighbours home (you can see it below), this young guy has been renovating this house for months and here it was severely threatened!
I could already hear the sirens approaching and all of us were sprinting over the road, it was total chaos. The first of many fire trucks tore up to the fire (see below), we ended up with trucks from 3 towns in attendance - all volunteer firefighters.
I called a colleague from work to ask her to cover the gate for me and she said she'd heard it on the scanners. Around here everyone tends to have a scanner for the weather and fire risks.
There were clouds of burning embers falling all around us and all our homes. We are so dry here, we have been under 3 High Fire Danger warnings in the past 3 days. We have dead dry leaves everywhere in our yards and we were all running around stamping out embers as they landed.
A total stranger stopped and leapt out of his truck, grabbed a hose off a neighbour and started hosing down the young guys home. One of our neighbours ran to help him. We just live in that kinda town/area and at moments like this, it's a blessing.It had the main highway through town shut for over an hour, lots of towns people came by to offer help or watch.
The firemen were telling us all to start wetting everything down. We turned on our sprinkler system in the nearest area of our yard where embers were landing (you can see them floating above the crowd). Our neighbours who had heavier embers falling, were on their roof hosing it down.
The support trucks were criss-crossing our street, wetting everything down they could reach from their trucks. We are surrounded on 2 sides by farmland and there was concern this could also catch light, it being so dry. They were driving across yards between houses and down alleys and backyards trying to protect us all.
They pulled right up our driveway to the house and sprayed everything down for a couple of minutes on both sides, including the Hubster who got an 'accidental' friendly squirt!
We actually got very lucky. Our Asst Fire Chief said if it had happened 24 hours ago, we could well have lost all our homes due to the 40mph winds. But it also seems certain the fire was no accident. The property has been empty for years and there is no power to it, so as the Fire Chief said "why now"?!
Here are just two of our town heroes, a father and daughter firefighting team. I have written before about our local volunteer fire departments and how amazingly committed they are. And as usual they were super fast to respond, utterly professional and caring about their neighbours/friends being in danger. I think they can probably expect good donations from most of our street in the near future.
When we finally came in we stank of smoke, and even after washing our clothes they still smell. The hubster thinks we might have to try vinegar in the wash, but if you have any ideas, please leave them in comments.
So it was a little too close for comfort, the drama in our neighbourhood tonight. But it's moments like this that really make me appreciate the value of belonging and living in a smalltown, where everyone looks out for each other.
As I head to bed, there are still firemen vigilently patrolling the area to keep us all safe as we sleep. I'll post some after-shots later.