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They say it started with an explosion.
Apparently, it was initially in a garage. A beautiful garage of a beautiful house. The new owners had just recently moved in. H and I love that house. We have walked past many times. When we saw the for sale sign over summer, we called right away. But it was already pending.
Investigations are ongoing. Arson is suspected.
The winds were gusting at great speeds overnight, and the fire spread rapidly to neighbouring properties. Including the home of one of my childhood friends.
Her car was out back, in the detached garage.
I awoke in the wee small hours of the morning to the sounds of sirens. And then more sirens. And then even more sirens. Initially disoriented, it took some time before I realized the emergency vehicles were right out front. But then I rushed to the window to see what might be happening on our street.
Orange smoke was billowing. Flames leaped into the sky, as the sparks flew. This looked bad. Really bad. And it looked close. Really close. The hydrant on our stretch of road was being used to combat the flames. I awoke H, who left to see just how close the fire was to our home.
When he returned, it was with bad news. Three houses were already engulfed. Several garages were aflame. H had watched as the flames leaped from the third house to the fourth, and then saw another garage catch fire. No one was working on garages. Saving houses was the only priority. Just as it should have been. The fire was close. Too close. And the winds were pushing it toward us.
As firefighters worked to contain the blaze, neighbours fought to keep the flames from claiming their own homes. Garden hoses were employed, and houses and garages were hosed down. Neighbours woke one another, and assistance was offered as needed. No one wished to lose so much.
The winds continued to gust. The fires continued to blaze. And as the sparks flew and the flames spread, we began to worry for our safety. The fire continued to move toward our house. It was moving rapidly.
Even though firefighters were at work trying to contain the blaze, we did not feel secure in our home. At 5:30, we decided to evacuate. I think that was the safest choice.
The fire was contained in our absence. Our house is unaffected. Several of the neighbouring houses, cars, and garages are lost. Others have suffered significant damage. But no lives were lost. No residents were injured. And any emergency worker injuries are classed as minor non-life-threatening injuries.
Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving, and I have a great deal to be thankful for.
Today, I am thankful that all lives were preserved. I am thankful that everyone got out in time. I am thankful for the emergency workers, for their skill and their quick response time, which prevented the blaze from spreading any further. I am thankful that we had a place to go when we needed to evacuate. I am thankful for my home, which is still standing strong. I am thankful that the beautiful house that we had liked so much was already pending when we called about it. I am thankful that my friend, whose home was lost to the blaze, has family who will help her. I am thankful for the outpouring of concern and caring by my wonderful family and friends, and for all of the phone calls and emails from people who wanted to know that our family was okay. And I am thankful that we have something worth protecting and preserving, and that we can recognize exactly what that something is.
It's a good day to be thankful for stuff.