Friday, August 30, 2013

there but by grace go I

I was awoken at 1:30am by four fire trucks and three ambulances surrounding my apartment. I live on a corner with lovely east and south facing windows.
A true selling point of this apartment when I first saw it.  These windows could be mine, I thought.

I also sleep with them open as much as I can. The fire trucks basically were inside my apartment.

Flying down the stairs, I see that the building four down from me is on fire.
It all mixed into that cool air that reminds you summer is already on its way out despite it being August for two more days.

I was kind of immobilized.  Dramatic?
Do I leave my apartment?
Will this fire spread as fires in walls do and especially when home are connected in beautiful parts of this city of Philadelphia?
Oh, how fires are at the top of my list of SCARY THINGS.

Is the 4th street curse something real?
As I google furiously, I notice that firefighters had already battled a blaze earlier today within the same block vicinity.  In April, the firefighter chief tragically died in a fire that quickly licked up a fabric store and three adjoining apartments.

I went from window to window for a long time in the wee morning hours.  Watching these brave men hurry, yet methodically, to save.  Despite the loss they endured in April, they are here.  And willingly so.

I text my friend, Joy, in San Francisco, thinking this is the only time this damned three hour difference will ever come in handy.
I also flashback to 2009 when she had to literally live this nightmare.

I say, "Firefighters are kind of amazing people."

She says, "They are. They saved Cricket."

And they did.

I lay awake for most of the rest of the morning - dozing in and out of sleep - watching the lights from all of the care vehicles bounce all over the walls and ceiling.

There but by grace go I....