The sirens closed in on the neighborhood. I hear them often, as there must be a fire station somewhere nearby. They most often go on the highway out of town that passes close enough to my neighborhood that it's hard to ignore. "oh there they go again" gets to be a commonplace comment. "I bet it's out there on that curve where all the cars crash".
But not this time. One firetruck, police car, ambulance after the other. Sometimes you can tell the difference between the sirens. They all sound like world war II all over again, and again, and again. From what I see in foreign films, I like European emergency vehicle sounds better.
The first set of sirens began at 6 PM. I noticed because the evening news just began and I turned up the sound on the TV to hear better. Within a few minutes, the cats had all leaped up onto the windowsill looking off toward the northeast. The dogs barked incessantly and more sirens echoed through the area. At 6:10 PM I received a phone call and couldn't pay attention to my caller because new emergency vehicles were arriving. I hung up and went outside to take a look. Scanning the sky, of course the cats were right, the northheast was unnaturally lit up with billowing clouds of smoke. Not our usual evening fog.
Still the sirens! I began to determine just what street it might be located on as I got in the car and began driving a few blocks closer to all the excitement. Suddenly, it occurred to me that this had to be right near my Veterinarian's office. Oh no! What if there are animals in there? I wonder if anyone is there after hours to take care of them. Do they have an evacuation plan in place?
This way: the police cars blocking the street, I went a few blocks away and headed inwards. Nope, more flashing red lights block the way. So I turned back and went southwest to come about from the other side of the main street where the Vets office was located. That side was clear. I pulled into the parking lot and could clearly see over the fence that the apartment complex next door was the source of the fire. Two vet office employees were standing outside. We talked for a while, and I went home, relieved the animals were okay.
Five hours later, the news made some comments about the fire. Fire personnel had come in from four other communities to help put this fire out. Eight families were removed from their homes and provided temporary assistance from the red cross. Two apartments are totally burned out. The other six families might be able to return, but who knows what the smoke damage is? The fire started from a mother turning on her stove to start cooking a meal. Thinking she had the stove on low heat, she decided to go to the corner store to purchase some ingredient for the meal. Unfortunately, the stove was not on low heat. Her daughter and husband were at home in the upstairs, and luckily escaped the fire alive. It was learned by the fire department that all the 8 apartments involved did not have batteries in their smoke detectors. VERY luck to get out alive. Okay, so that was the report given on the news that night.
A more complete and different set of circumstances are reported here.