Monday, April 4, 2011
This evening Manchester Seminarian Charlie Pawlowski and I went out for our evening walk. Being that it was in the 80's today we figured it was a great idea. At about 9:30pm we left the seminary. The wind was whipping something fierce and we almost contemplated going back for fear of getting hit by a tree limb, but we didn't it. By the time we made it half away across the property I stopped, pointed and yelled loudly that there was a fire. As Charlie and I looked to the property next door we saw flames some 40 feet in the air. The wind was whipping the flames high into the sky and there was a massive wall of fire. As I called 911 we ran to the street to get a better look. The fire was gigantic and spreading. At first we thought it was the girls school next door. However, on further inspection we discovered it was a massive row of evergreen trees they had in front. The trees are easily 25+ feet in the air and they were fully engulfed. By the time we got to the street the firemen had arrived and we laying in the street trying to gain control of the situation. The fire that had begun on one side of the road had spread to the median, as well as to the boys school's trees across the road. Night security officers frantically tried to stomp it out, but it continued to smolder, even engulfing the wooden trash can. Eventually the firefighters were able to get things under control. As of post time, the firefighters are still out there spraying the trees, the underbrush and ground to be sure nothing kicks up again. The fire was dosed an hour ago and they are still (thankfully) being sure nothing happens. The wind tonight was unlike anything I have seen before, that combined with dryness and fire are a deadly combination.
Charlie and I stopped traffic for 45 minutes, that is until the police came and took over. I know the police down here work really hard and deal with a lot of bad stuff (like an average of 5-6 murders a week). But it was very sad that the department is so understaffed that it took 45 minutes for help. Thankfully the fire was gotten under control quickly. Had it been a little later and people not been out and about, it could have been a lot worse, with much of the block going up in flames and no way to stop it. Thankfully, it occurred when it did and the fire department was able to respond so quickly.
As I reek of smoke I am off to get cleaned up. Just another ordinary day in the life of this seminarian.
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