We started our weekend pretty laid back. Saturday was spent just hanging around the house, cleaning (me), playing (kids), and sleeping (T). Around 2:00 I was in the middle of cleaning the kitchen and heard sirens - and they were CLOSE. I looked out the front window. I saw the kid across the street out in his driveway and opened the door and asked him what was up. He says nonchalantly, "There's a fire down there." So, I'm thinking trash fire, brush fire, whatever. But then - I see my 70+ year old neighbors shuffling down the street. This does not happen often (ever), so I KNOW something's up. I take a few steps out and look down the street and see THREE fire trucks, countless emergency vehicles and huge clouds of thick black smoke moving across the sky. Um, I'm thinking this is not a brush fire..... Then I saw the flames - taller than the trees and some angry.
I ran inside to roust the family. By this time the whole neighborhood is making its way down the street - on foot, bicycle, car, and even four wheeler (gotta love St Tammany). I am telling T there's a fire down the street, and he's like "So?" Evidently, he also thought I meant a brush fire. Well, as it turns out, there were 3 houses on fire. The first one burned down to the ground in about 30 minutes. The second one is almost completely destroyed, and the third has major damage. It was so sad to see these people coming home and realizing it was indeed their house that was burning. It brought back some awful Katrina memories for me, and I confess I shed a tear or two. Of course, it was also a little embarrassing that Dubya's response was so wholly inappropriate - as in COOL, a FIRE. Hey guys - LOOK at the COOL FIRE. I reminded him how bad we all felt when we lost our house and that seemed to help. But, to a 5 yr old, it's just a cool fire. And, of course, there were all the emergency vehicles and workers, and the whole block party atmosphere.... It was surreal, I tell you.
As of this morning, the houses were STILL smouldering, which was wild to me. No one knows yet what caused it. And, because it was on the news and all, we keep seeing strangers driving in front of our house - really slowly so they don't miss it. Uh - it's the one that's just a few blackened beams folks, a few houses down on the left.
Good news, no neighbors were hurt. Two firefighters had minor injuries, but they are both ok. The Red Cross showed up right away to help out the families. And, I'm taking this time to review a fire plan with my family.
It was a strange day, to say the least! And to top off our weekend, we spent almost the entire day today at the Renaissance Fair, which was AWESOME and highly recommended. More on that later!