The Fire Next Door!


It could have been so much worse.

We had an emergency in our neighborhood this last week. Didn’t fall into the category of widespread disaster, but we are all still shaking our heads about “what could have been” if it had been a windy day…

House burning

A total loss

One of our elderly neighbors called AAA because her car wouldn’t start. She hadn’t used it in months. Well, AAA came, started the car, and suggested that the owner let it run “for a while.”

An hour later, she had fallen asleep. And that car, parked right alongside the house, was beginning to smoke.

Quick action by observant neighbors.

When the mailman came by, the car and carport were engulfed in smoke, and flames were licking at the house itself. About that time neighbors saw the flames, too, and called the fire department. The mailman pounded on the door and pulled the shaky and confused resident right out into the street. She was safe.

Meanwhile, the house was burning.  Three different fire stations responded to the 911 calls, as did a number of police cars.

By the time First Responders arrived…

By the time they arrived, CERT members had taken in the homeowner and called her relatives, and were clearing the streets of gawkers in order to allow ready access to the First Responders.  CERT training made it easy for these neighbors to act promptly and with authority!  The CERT team members didn’t save the house — even the fire department couldn’t do that — but the neighborhood was definitely safer as a result of their actions.

Action Item: Make sure all your cars are properly maintained, exercised on a regular basis, and always have at least a half-tank full of fresh gas in case you need to evacuate. This simple discipline will save your investment, and may well save your life.


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