Thursday, April 08, 2010

And then there was the fire...

My daughter invited me to Boston on Tuesday. She had two box tickets to the Red Sox and Yankees game. It was an exciting game and we had a lot of fun, our seats were behind first base and we had a good view of the game. I stayed overnight at her and her boyfriend's apartment with plans to drive home from Boston yesterday. I was able to park my van in her boyfriend's parking spot in the alley behind the apartment building.

Yesterday afternoon, my daughter and I were outside walking in the sunshine. We were on our way back to the apartment building so I could get in my van and drive home. As we walked we watched several fire trucks go by rushing by. My daughter's phone rang and she learned the trucks were rushing to her apartment building because it was on fire. And it was not a small fire.

We arrived as the firefighters where setting up the ladder trucks and entering the building. Glass was falling to the sidewalk as firefighters broke windows to gain access to the areas they needed to fight the fire. In the photos below, the ladder on the far left is in the living room window of my daughter's boyfriend's apartment on the 6th floor. The fire started on the other side of the building on the 7th floor. The press is calling it a 9 alarm fire. One woman was rescued and given CPR on the roof and then carried to safety by one of the firefighters. Some pets were lost in the fire, witnessing owners dealing with their sadness was heartbreaking.

My daughter and all the other residents of the buildings were able to stay with friends or in a hotel room last night. The damage to the building has left it uninhabitable. Today the rebuilding process begins for all of the residents, of their home and their lives.

It was late in the evening last night before I began my 2 hour drive home. My van was covered in a thick layer of glass shards that fell into the alley behind the apartment building, but it was still drivable. There are chips in the windows, but none of the them broke. I could tell that some of the glass was very hot when it landed on my van. Once the fire was out, my van had to be moved so the clean up crews could get in close to the building and start the clean up process . A kind man helped me brush the glass off my van and then let me park it in his parking space a block away so that I could stay a little while longer with my daughter. The kindness of everyday people willing to help others was amazing. So often I think of big cities as cold and impersonal places to live. And I suppose that's true on some level and many examples can be told to illustrate how terrible and unfeeling people can be. But when a community of people were in need during this fire, others quickly stepped forward to help. It was a wonderful thing to see. The contrast of a few selfish people was easier to overlook in the crowds of kind people. One woman I remember did leave me speechless. She lives in the adjacent apartment building and was angered that someone parked their car in one of her alley parking spaces for a few minutes while cars where shuffled around to gain access to the damaged apartment building. She made it very clear that if this should ever happen again that the courteous thing to do would be to leave her a note. Right - the next time the apartment building is on fire we will be sure to leave her a note so she will know exactly why she is being inconvenienced.

I washed the soot of my van today to get a better look at the glass chips. The front windshield may need to be repaired or replaced. I will probably just have to learn to live with the chips in the rest of the windows. I almost took my dogs with me on this trip. They have gone with me before when I have visited my daughter. If I had brought them this time they could have been inside the apartment during the fire. I'm so glad I left them home, I don't even what to think about the "what ifs".

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