Sunday, December 16, 2007
Close Call: Gloucester Burns
It's Sunday night now, and this has been a lost weekend. On Friday night, a fire broke out two blocks from Hoofcare and Lameness World Headquarters. An apartment house and the local synogogue were lost, and one gentle sole died, despite valiant rescue efforts to get him out.
It was a raging inferno, eight alarms, with almost every town north and east of Boston responding.
Down here on the harbor, big chunks of debris flew through the air, carried like fireworks sparks by a stiff wind. They landed in evergreen trees, glistened in flower boxes, sizzled in an open dumpster. Most of them skittered across the snow and into the ocean. Luckily, we had a snowstorm on Thursday, so the roof was covered in snow.
The fire was still burning today, even though it snowed all night last night. The whole town, and this building, are veiled with smoke. The sky's a strange color. We all have sore throats.
It was a fire that could have easily destroyed the town, and this office with it. Thanks to the hard work of professional firefighters who went to work and did what they know how to do, and thanks to a mild evening with just a normal wind, a worse disaster was averted.
This fire, like so many, was caused by human error and carelessness, compounded by the vulnerability of an old building. Tragedies never have to happen, but they do.