Saturday, May 14, 2011

On the Scene as Fire Ravages Old House

One never knows how life can change in the snap of the fingers.

While driving to a yard sale Saturday afternoon, in Pittsfield, ( a town in western Massachusetts),  a thick layer of smoke filled the air ahead.

My former newspaper reporter's curiosity made me drive in the direction of the smoke which, sadly, turned out to be from a raging fire in process. It burned furiously in what looked like a huge, fairly old Victorian house that had been turned into 18 apartments on three floors.

After quickly parking the car and grabbing the camera, I joined other onlookers. We stood in horror as flames shot out of the roof and huge billows of black and gray smoke filled the sky.  Firefighters arrived from several different towns and aimed powerful streams of water at the fire.

When two firefighters at the end of a long crane came precariously close to the roof of the burning building, my respect for all people in that profession grew considerably.  They truly risk their lives when on the scene of a fire like the one that ravaged the old house. 

It was impossible not to feel deep sadness for the residents who lost everything in that fire.

One woman, no doubt a resident,  stood weeping on the sidewalk, while two people held her. 

I listened to the evening news about the Pittsfield fire and learned that 45 people lost everything.  Can you imagine how devastating that must be to have only the clothes on your back? 

News reports also said the Red Cross was working to find temporary housing, food, and money for clothing for all the people left homeless.

I couldn't help but feel deeply grateful no lives were lost.

Suddenly, yard sales lost their appeal. Life was changed, forever, for many in those smoke-filled hours. My heart grieved for the people who lived in the building as well as for all the firefighters who so valiantly put their lives at risk on a Saturday afternoon.



From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

A week and a half ago a house up the street burned. It was a girl in her twenties who had just recently bought the house from her parents. She left her bathroom ceiling fan on and was not home and that was of course the cause of the fire. My sons girlfriend's father is a firefighter in town and he was there fighting the fire that evening. Very scary for Kerry who was with us watching at the time. Sadly the home owners beloved dog died in the fire. My husband is a policeman and tells us all the time to shut off the bathroom fans. He has been to several fires where the fans are left on and the homeowner is out. After seeing the house up the street burn I had a hard time falling asleep. I was grateful we didn't know about the dog until the next morning.

Chris Graham said...

How sad! It gives us the opportunity to pray for those affected. I believe with all my heart we need to spend our time being grateful people,
that it changes us. They lost their possessions and that is devastating no doubt but many lives were spared and that is a miracle.

Victorian1885 said...

What a sad day for all involved..I feel saddened as well that the beautiful character home was destroyed. My thoughts go out to all of the people who have to start from scratch all over again. Take care..


Bookie said...

Fire is a frigthening thing with a life its own. My childhood home burned a few years ago and my mom lost everything including two dogs. I can still smell ash!

On a lighter note, I love your new picture, Susan!

Allison Schreiber Lee said...

Unbelievably moving pictures, Susan. Thank you for reminding us all to be grateful.

diane stetson said...

A fire in THREE residences on Sunset Beach demolished everything. The damage estimated at around 6 million dollars or more..maybe 10 million. No lives were lost but the scenes on tv were horrible. This happened just last week. I wasn't there in person but felt so sorry for the owners of those expensive properties.

Linda Makiej said...

oh MY!!!! what a beautiful old house - so sad.... for the residents as well...

Dayle said...

So tragic. I can't imagine losing everything I own in a fire, or other act of nature. Not that I place a lot of value on my things, but because they're filled with memories and are all I have. I think it would be similar to a death in the family.

Those are great pics. Made me remember when my retired husband was a captin in HFD, just three short years ago. They do risk their lives so often. Thanks for your appreciation.

T's Daily Treasures said...

How awful for the residents of that beautiful home but thankfully everyone got out alive. Did they say what started the fire? Certainly makes you grateful for everything as we all should be on a daily basis. Things can change in the blink of an eye. Blessings for the week ahead. Tammy

Chatty Crone said...

Oh that home was just beautiful Susan. I am so sorry. Especially for the 45 with out homes. It is true when you see something like this - nothing else is important.

Things can change in a second.

mo said...

Hi Susan,

How devestating!

Your pictures are awsome.

What a beautiful building.

I once knew a woman who's house burned down to the ground...twice!


*hugs to you*


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