Do You Smell Something Burning?
IT WAS A QUIET SUNDAY EVENING at home watching the Colts beat the Denver Broncos when I heard my wife, the lovely and eloquent, Dawn, call out, “What the heck is going on?”
Well, that certainly got my attention, and moving faster than I have in some time, I went to her side. Shining through our front window were the flashing red lights of a Paramedic Rescue Van parked right outside our door. The darkness was further rent by lights from a fire engine and several police black and whites just two doors away.
It seems that, while we were caught up in the action of the football game, there was a fire at the apartment building less than 100 feet away from our door.
The Terre Haute (That’s French for “Did you leave the candles burning?”) Fire Department must have arrived with sirens wailing, to say nothing about the Paramedics and the police cars. How did all of this happen with us sitting there – oblivious to it all?
As my mother used to say whenever I was frustrated looking for something that was right in front of me, “Thank God it wasn’t a snake it would’ve bit you.”
Dawn and I toddled on over, closer to the scene. We could see a ladder extending up to the second floor where there were open windows showing a smoky interior. It was not pretty.
When word filtered down through the local TV stations and their websites, with some details we learned that some knucklehead living in that second floor apartment had tried to introduce a little ambiance with candlelight. How romantic. How enchanting. How flammable.
It seems than when our amorous arsonist went out for a lovey-dovey dinner at Taco Bell he (or she) failed to extinguish the candles and guess what happened next?
The apartment building in question, AKA “Toasty Arms,” is mainly filled with college students living off campus. Today there is at least one less calling it home. There might be a few more if the water and smoke damage goes beyond the tolerance of the neighbors who live on the lower floors. But, then again, they are college students too, so their standards of what is “livable” are probably pretty low.
Fortunately, it appears that there were no fatalities, unless you count six bongs, three overdue rent notices, a menu from the First Wok Chinese Take-out, and a number of university textbooks (never used). And an almost full box of quick melting candles.
What concerned us the most about this entire event is that we never heard the sirens right outside our front door, nor saw the multitude of flashing lights that were more numerous than you’d find at a KISS concert.
I suppose we could prevent things like this from sneaking up on us again by opening the drapes behind the TV so we could see any flashing lights or by leaving the front door open so we could hear the sirens better. Both solutions have good points, but they also have bad points.
Open the drapes and the sunlight coming in would be in our eyes, blinding us, so we might as well sell the TV and just listen to the radio.
Open the front door and we’d be up to our hips in squirrels that would come inside looking for nuts and only find us – sitting in the sunlight, listening to the radio.