Posted By Irene C. Olszewski, Esq. on March 27, 2012
I was away on vacation last week and returned to the office yesterday. I was not in a frying pan, as the title suggests — although I did eat a few meals that involved fried food. As far as the into the fire part, well, there is fire to tonight’s post. Intrigued? Great.
I returned to a typical busy Monday at the office. After a week of vacation, I had the usual long list of calls to return, e-mails to answer and mail to review. Nothing out of the ordinary, just busy. You may have noticed that I wasn’t posting last week. I had spotty wi-fi and it was just not happening.
Back to my story …
Some time around 6 p.m., after everyone else in the building had gone home for the night, I was in my private office finishing up some calls when I heard a loud bang. The owner of the construction company from whom I rent my space tends to swing by around that time to unload building materials. He usually crashes and bangs around outside for a while. I was alone in the building and wanted to be sure it was my landlord and not some uninvited visitor, so I walked into the conference room to take a peek.
What I saw was most certainly not my landlord. A thick black cloud of billowing smoke was spreading across the rear yard of the property. I heard a small explosion. What the heck? I hurried to the window and was shocked to see flames shooting 8 feet into the air. A fire had erupted between the trees near the fence that borders the highway on-ramp. The wind was howling outside — nicely fanning the flames to a raging inferno — and my car was parked less than a foot away from the spreading blaze.
I dialed 9-1-1 and sprinted down the stairs. While trying to call the fire department and simultaneously shoving my car into reverse, I nearly ran over some guy with a hose who had materialized out of nowhere. I didn’t hit him. Whew, no vehicular manslaughter charges for me.
It seems that the neighbors saw the blaze and hurried to the rescue. They hooked up ordinary garden hoses to their own home water supply and began battling the blaze. The fire department arrived in full force several minutes later. By then, quite a crowd of curious onlookers had assembled.
When the blaze had been contained, we all mused than in the craziness of the moment, not one of us had thought to snap a photo with our cell phone cameras. There would be no pics and no exciting You Tube videos. Darn.
It turns out that something ignited the garbage and/or recycle buckets that rest along the back fence of the property. It is suspected that a motorist threw a lit cigarette out of the car window while entering the highway and the high winds must have blown the thing into the trash holding area. The official cause was ruled undetermined.
Let’s just say that my heart was beating faster than it had in a long time. Welcome back from vacation.
Next time, I’ll stick with the frying pan.
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copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski