Friday, January 25, 2008

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire

Picture this: You’re settling into the morning coffee when you just happen to notice smoke billowing from the back of your apartment. ‘Fancy that,’ you think, taking another sip of the post-dawn java; ‘my house is on fire.’

For anyone that has experienced an escape from a burning building, time freezes when an uncontrolled flames are lapping the edge of one’s worldly possessions. Seconds seem like hours, as any semblance of rational evaporates into the burgeoning plumes of fetid smoke. There’s a voice that says ‘this can’t possibly be happening’ while the eyes transmit images of shriveling vinyl siding peel and heat-shattered windows.

The adrenal gland kicks in and suddenly disbelief becomes primal. Save anything dear -anything near -and get the fuck out. The sirens blare through the city as a cadre of firefighters charge into action. But to the victim, everything is still moving slow; cripplingly slow.

They make their first entrance, a smashing blow through the front door. Moments later, a chair smashes out a window; an ax through another; what was once a cozy hovel is quickly turning into the block’s largest fireplace.

Then there is the hope; a scattered convoluted thought that maybe the blaze hasn’t consumed the desk with your passport; the drawer with your family pictures; the bedroom jewelry chest. Maybe the water battling down flames on the roof hasn’t trickled through the floorboards to your laptop in the living room. But this hope diminishes with each flame extinguished by the blasting hoses.

House fires suck. And for the 10 poor bastards left homeless by the Grand Avenue blaze, the suck is all too real and tangible. Anyone lucky enough to salvage anything from the disastrous blaze will have to contend with the putrid stench of char and creosote for months to come. It’s an inescapable essence that will remind them of the fateful day where their lives were put on the griddle and scrambled like 5 a.m. eggs at Compton’s.

But knocking back a few cocktails doesn’t suck. In fact, the dulling sensation of booze is often a welcome solace to those suffering the throngs of sudden tragedy. And it’s an even better way for those who feel bad for the victims to lend a helping hand.

In other words, find some time on the Lord’s day to pay homage to the recently homeless. The Local, a dapper establishment across from the fire-ravaged home, is sponsoring an all-day booze bender for the bereft in their time of need. Area vendors have donated all the fried dead birds, mind-numbing grain and pint-filling kegs for the affair, so that victims of this disaster can right themselves along their respective paths through life.

So this is an all-points-bulletin to the Spa City boozers to swing by the Local Sunday for a tipple or six. For the other so-called non-drinkers, there was never a better time to start; just think: it’s for a good cause and you might just find a new hobby. Out-of-towners, you can help too: Just contact the powers that be. And for you church-going time-frugal go-getters, the affair spans from noon to midnight, so there’s really no excuse to blow this thing off. Just think, you’re doing the Lord’s work.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

People do what people do. No one died and disasters happen, but when its someone else's disaster, it still sucks when trying to do something although you know its not enough to make it all right.

House fires are scary. They stay with you your whole life. But as the saying goes, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and makes you more aware of every building you ever sleep in … forever.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was certainly one of the more bizarre posts in recent memory. I'm surprised you didn't title it "Beershits for Charity." I did like the first person narrative of realizing your house is on fire though.

Except:

"...the fateful day where their lives were put on the griddle and scrambled like 5 a.m. eggs at Compton's."

Wha? These people are confronting fire damage and you use a scrambled egg metaphor? Homes, that's messed up!

1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the last time our citizens were made aware of the older (apparently inadequate) 4-inch supply lines under our streets?

Was it brought to the Council by either the PW or PS Commissioner during budget talks as a priority? Was it discussed? Was it dismissed? Did the Council majority have other priorities?

Was it a concern when the Commissioner of Public Safety was strenuously demanding Capital Program Projects and additional staffing and equipment? After a fire, the concern apparently becomes front-page news.

If we have the ludicrous concept of discriminating buildings, could we also have discriminating water lines ... discriminating priorities?

Instead of buying ambulances, would it make more sense to own a pumper tank as an auxiliary water source for use in these “critically” deficient sections of the City – if indeed, this is a problem?

The politics of priorities is unfortunate and after a fire it’s equally tragic.

4:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big thumbs up to the Local for stepping up. Very nice.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My pug puppy and I were 2 of the 10 poor bastards and yes, it certainly does suck. When I woke up to puppy feet walking all over me, teeth chewing at my hair I figured it was an early cry to go out. It wasn't until I saw smoke coming from the back of the building that I realized it my hero dog's cry telling me to WAKE UP! Even then, I remember momentarily holding my laptop in my hands and quickly setting it back down on the table, figuring I was being foolish, that I would be inside safe and sound soon enough, enjoying a morning cup of coffee. Nevertheless, I ran into the street nightgown and all, nothing but a courageous pup in tow.
While that hectic minute in the apartment did end up being my last, there is a light at the end of a horrific day. I was overwhelmed by the strength and support of our neighborhood. Within moments of seeing flames engulf my living room, I was ushered into a warm house, offered dry socks to defrost my numb toes and given puppy chow for my hero of the hour. After saying simple hellos in passing for the 6 months I lived on Grand, suddenly I was handed phone numbers to call when in need, hugs from perfect strangers and countless offers for shelter, coffee, blankets, you name it. I know I can speak for each of the residents when I say we have truly appreciated your support both during and in the aftermath of this tragedy. Unfortunately I'll miss the event at the Local (a favorite spot since its opening) as I am staying with family, but again, a huge thank you to the wonderful Saratoga community, we cannot thank you enough.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fundraiser at The Local was a success and we had our fair share of draft beers to make a difference in donations. We bid and won two items to the tune of a $125.00 in donations as well.

It was quite the crowd and it never ceases to amaze me as to what a wonderful community we have. We are fortunate to live here.

The people I expected to be there weren't and then there were people that came that surprised me -- you never no . . .

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THOUGHT THE FIRE HOUSE GOT A GRANT FOR A REHAB TRUCK NOT AND AMBULANCE?.TOM M GOT IN TROUBLE FOR THE THE SAME EXCACT THING./

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MAYBE THE FIRE CHIEF WHOS JOB IS THE TRAINING OFFICER SHOULD START DOING THE TRAINING INSTEAD OF PAYING COUNTLESS HOURS OF OVERTIME TO CAPTAINS WHO GET PAID OVERTIME TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET PAID MORE OT WHEN THE POOR FIREFIGHTER HAS TO TRAIN AT STRAIGHT TIME .MAYBE RON KIM NEEDS TO HIRE FIREMEN INSTEAD OF DOCTORS.

6:22 PM  

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