Walk and a Bike Crash

Graham and I have gotten really into post-dinner walks these days.  Part of what I attribute the roaring success to is the fact that Graham will hold my hand the entire time.  It means we both take a strolling pace and also that I’m not constantly having to chase him out of people’s yards or warn him of the dangers of the street. He has to hold my hand but that’s where his hassle ends. Pretty nice compromise, if you ask me.

Tuesday night we had a long walk – all the way down our street, then a loop back to walk up a different street, back to  our house.  While walking up the street, I saw a teenage girl riding her bicycle toward us. I looked back down at G but immediately heard some sort of collision and the unmistakable clatter and tire skid that a bike makes when it’s folding in on itself. I looked up and saw the girl with her hands and knees on the ground. “Oh – you okay, hon??” I yelled, and she didn’t answer.  I started to walk toward her, kind of expecting her to get up in the process, but she didn’t.

Another guy and a lady who’d been talking to each other out on the guy’s driveway saw it happen too and came over to help.  The lady used to be a nurse, so that made me feel immediately better. We also attracted the attention of a guy who’d been in his house when she fell.  The fact that she didn’t immediately get up is what really drew people out.

She was a fair hike from home, maybe a half mile. She couldn’t give us her address – this part was a little baffling, but we figured maybe she was in shock and a little scared to give it out to a bunch of strangers. We tried calling her mom, but the girl kept giving us her mom’s cell phone number which happened to be the cell phone the girl had on her at the time.

Poor girl couldn’t put weight on her leg :( so we eventually made the decision to call an ambulance – in absence of not being able to contact her mom or drive to her house. We didn’t know what else to do.

Graham was just overwhelmed enough to be unquestioningly compliant, but not to the point of being freaked out or scared. I didn’t have *my* cell phone on me, so I couldn’t call Andy to come pick Graham up. I also couldn’t, in good conscience, walk away. We were also a good hike from home.

The fire truck and ambulance responded. We had about 8 emergency responders on the scene, and I tell ya – we’ve got some great people working at the fire department. I was impressed with their warm professionalism. They eventually took her to the hospital, but were going to swing by the girl’s house to see if they could get her mom first.

Of course, that was the highlight of Graham’s night. It kept him up past bedtime, and he had trouble falling asleep after all that!

No Words

The fire trucks are gone this afternoon.  The neighborhood is quiet.  I absent-mindedly took my usual route home.  It wasn’t until I noticed all the ash in the gutter that I realized I was driving down the street that has been blocked for the last 18 hours.  I immediately started looking down the row of houses, looking for damage.  I said out loud, “How do I know which one had the fire?”

It was like a movie.  As soon as those words left my mouth, my eyes fell on the wreckage.

It’s gone.  It’s almost completely gone.  I run past this house every morning.  Now the roof is gone, the inside – gutted, and what’s left of this family’s belongings is spread out on the neighbors’ lawns across the street.

The salvageable contents of our neighbors’ home, in its entirety, is less than what I took to college with me my freshman year.  In it, children’s costumes, Dr. Seuss books, a couple of burned, bubbled photo albums attempting to dry from the water damage in the sun.

I’ve never seen anything like this before.  You kind of chalk fires up to things that happened a long time ago, before standards of building code were highly regulated.  I see Facebook statuses today delighting in the electrical storm that happened last night, but I’m certain the family down the street would gladly give anything to take that storm back and rewind time.

Unbelievable.

View from Our House

I got home late from a recording session last night.  Driving into the neighborhood I saw a fire marshall’s red pickup leaving as well as a white compact car with blue flashing lights on top (from some unidentifiable agency… maybe the utilities office? It wasn’t a truck…)  I made the left onto our street (well, the street leading to our street anyway).

A buffet of swirling cherry lights awaited me.  One fire truck and two police cars blocked the street.  No matter, I swung left and took a detour to our door.  When I got home, Andy said, “That house caught on fire.”

“Are you KIDDING?” (I mean, how many times have you seen a fire truck answering a call that was actually a fire really?)

“I guess… I mean, I think,” he went on. “They arrived during the thunderstorm… there’d been really close lightening… I went outside and I could smell the smoke.  Smelled like a campfire.”

Crazy!

Well, wait for crazy. It’s 6:30 am, and the fire trucks are still there. At least one hook and ladder (you can see it above the roof of a house on the right) is still here.  You can still see flashing lights and, if you watch long enough, you see plumes of water being sprayed over the top of the house.

I literally have nothing to say.  Partly because I don’t actually know what’s happened yet.  I’ll see if I can see it when we leave the house this morning.  Andy thinks it’s burned down pretty badly for them to be spraying water over the top.  I can’t believe it’s still an active fire.  There was nothing obvious going on when I got home last night.

Anyway, I’ll post an update when I have one.  So far, the Internet does me no good!  (There’s your next idea Google. Figure out how to get me police and fire blotters for my town.) It’s shaking – to say the very least – to even imagine a house fire on your street. I hope everyone’s okay…