Thoughts on Fire

October 23, 2009 at 6:36 am (By Amba)

(To be added to as time and sanity permit)

Fire is the ultimate home invader.

If you ever hear the intent, grinding crackle of fire coming for you, you’ll never forget it.  It sounds like a giant, unstoppable rotary saw or wood chipper chewing through matter and shelter.  Pure appetite, stupid as a shark.

The reeling, glass-shattering barroom brawl between the bad guys and the good guys — fire and water — does almost as much damage as fire, unchecked.  There’s something left, but there might as well not be.  Collateral damage.

Fire is like a skunk:  its musk clings to everything long after your encounter with it.

When your house is on fire, is one of the first things you think of your cellphone charger?  Me neither.  Yet it is one of the first things you’re going to need.

The only thing that seems like even more of an unnatural affront than the shortness of human (canine, feline) life is the shortness of battery life.  Whoever lets lets the human race off that short leash is going to be a culture hero in the league of Prometheus.

A writer will write about anything, like fire will eat anything.


  1. Camie Vog said,

    I am so relieved that you and J are safe. What a scare… My thoughts are with you, and I hope for a speedy relocation on a comfortable living situation.

  2. amba12 said,

    Thanks, Camie! Yeesh! I’m more scared now than I was at the time!

  3. pathmv said,

    Yes, I was terribly worried in retrospect for you and J when I read your brief comment yesterday about there having been a fire. I’m so grateful that you and he are ok.

    And of course you’re more scared now than you were then. I’ve always assumed you were the sort of person who can keep their head together in a crisis. You were less scared during the fire simply because being scared at that time would have been counter-productive to survival… That’s my theory, anyway.

  4. Rod said,

    Amba: After your response to “Glad you caught a break,” I’m almost afraid to congratulate you on escaping harm or loss of most of your possessions. Your last line of this post made me think of this: What are we to fire? Fuel.

  5. david said,

    Do they know where/why the fire started (not that that’ll bring anything back)?

  6. Charlie (Colorado) said,

    Holy crap! What?

  7. amba12 said,

    Yeah, my sentiments exactly!

    I “tweeted” the story starting here, since there hasn’t been time to do much else.

  8. El Pollo Real said,

    What are we to fire? Fuel.

    Well, less than half of us Link. The rest of us is water-the good guy!

    Sorry for the nerdly reminder on such a somber occasion.

    I’m really, really glad that you two are OK!

  9. Donna B. said,

    I’m thrilled everyone is OK. Everything is replaceable except people, though I certainly feel for the neighbor who lost research.

  10. amba12 said,

    LOL. A friend just wrote to us, “I don’t believe in him- whoever he (or she) may be-; but I thank whoever or whatever it is anyway.”

  11. jason said,

    Not all predators have eyes.

    Annie, I’m so glad you and J and the furry family members are all well. What a terrible thing. It robs, though not just in licks of flame, but in the fight, in the filth, in the aftermath.

    I recently saw an article about home fires and the major conclusions were threefold: more die than necessary because no fire plan is in place, most pets are never considered in an escape plan and therefore most do not survive, and the little things get you afterward (like cell phone chargers).

    Again, I can’t tell you how happy I am that everyone survived unscathed and that the damage and loss are not cataclysmic (i.e., total). That doesn’t make the circumstances easier to deal with, but the alternatives would have been much more difficult.

  12. Melinda said,

    When your house is on fire, is one of the first things you think of your cellphone charger? Me neither. Yet it is one of the first things you’re going to need.

    Thanks for the tip. Seriously. I’m forever having those “If Something Terrible Happens” drills, and that’s something that’s never occurred to me.

    Again, glad the living beings in your home are all safe!

  13. amba12 said,

    Melinda: Keep it in your purse. What’s one more thing in your purse??

  14. amba12 said,

    Jason: yes, you can’t feel TOO terrible even about a disaster when all the living things survive! I credit that little tiny five-foot girl who ran around pounding on everyone’s door and yelling “Wake up! Get out!” And it’s an animal-friendly apartment complex–one of the things I love about it. Lots of dogs. I presume lots of cats too, though most people don’t walk them so cats are a discreet, veiled vice that you can relish imagining!

  15. amba12 said,

    I turned the cats loose in my friend’s house today when I left to see J, and I’ve been worrying that they would eat some of the many houseplants and poison themselves. But the only alternative was to keep them locked up — in separate rooms because Buzzy picks on Dito.

    Seems to me toxic plants would taste bad and cats are much too smart to eat them.

    Well, I’ll get “home” soon and find out.

  16. Charlie (Colorado) said,

    Seems to me toxic plants would taste bad and cats are much too smart to eat them.

    Generally true, just btw.

  17. amba12 said,

    I got “home” and they were fine. Got lost on the way for the second time in a row, though. You just can’t use fast-food restaurants as landmarks. I’m gonna post on that later. But STILL have work to do.

  18. Peter Hoh said,

    Sorry to read about this news. How extensive was the damage?

  19. amba12 said,

    The buiilding was effectively totaled, although parts — inclulding our apartment — were not. Part was gutted, part virtually intact but they had to effectively destroy the latter to save it.

    Going to sleep now . . .

  20. Maxwell said,

    Yipes! Glad to know everyone’s OK. Let us know if there’s anything we can do.

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