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black hills

August 8, 2013

firehill

I’ve been trying to think of a suitable commentary to go with this incident, but to tell you the truth, it scared the hell out of me, and I really can’t. I couldn’t even get a very good picture from this side, and I didn’t walk around the back and pursue it. But you can tell how close it came to the houses there– point-blank range. About two blocks from us.

The horrible relentless heat was scary enough, and I have air-conditioning. That first night, I looked out the back window at about eleven, and this is pretty much what I saw. It took a couple of seconds to register. We were getting ready to run, and from what I heard later, there was controlled panic in the homes right next to it.

How do you even find out what’s going on? Luckily I have a scanner, and though I don’t really know how to operate it, it did its job on its own, that night. So, within forty-five minutes or so, I heard them cancel the call for back-up, and the evacuation plans. And I saw the flames go out.

But I had a terrible time finding anything about it even the next day. The only information I got was from East County Today, which I found with a search engine. That’s where I learned it started at the water treatment plant, and apparently was put out before a transformer blew. Although from what I heard through the grapevine, the people up there heard something go off when the fire started, so I still don’t know the full story.

Anyway, the fire crews clearly did a terrific job of putting it out quickly, and they deserve more credit than they got, in my opinion. It was a huge, urban fire, in the worst weather conditions, and it could have been an absolute disaster.

Oddly, as close as we were, we never had even a whiff of smoke, either during or after. The wind was in the other direction, and ten miles away in Brentwood, they were completely enveloped in it.

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