I was driving home with C. Yu, A. Agrawal, and J. Rosario after lunch today, and from the highway we see in the distance a big cloud of smoke — probably one signifying a fire. I nonchalantly cracked a joke, “Oh crap, guys, my house is on fire!” We all laughed.
Little did I know those words would come back and haunt me…
As we drove closer to my home (we were actually intending to go to C. Yu’s house and we just happened to be driving closer), I realized that the fire was nearby, and in fact, it was very nearby. Arriving at my house, I found cars parked every which way as spectators came to watch the fire. Running into my house, I saw my mother frantically packing things, and my father in the backyard with our garden hose attempting to soak the surrounding area (I live on a hill surrounded by dried grass — which, naturally, catches on fire). I was a little alarmed at this, but took it in stride and tried to assess the situation. Looking down the hill, I saw firefighters extinguishing the flames (one hapless owner saw the flames approach to within 3-4 feet of his backyard), and felt things must be under control.
That sentiment vanished when I looked down the side of the hill closer to my backyard — there, no less than 20-30 feet from my house were roaring flames. I raced into my neighbor’s home to get backup — they weren’t home, so I broke into their backyard, and took their hose and immediately started drenching the area around both our homes with water in the hopes that it would at least slow the nearby flame enough (if the flame got any closer) such that the fire fighters could work their way to our home.
Thankfully, the firefighters arrived before things got too hot (yes, bad joke, but I’m trying to make what could have been a horrible scenario into something light); at the end, the fire was stopped ~20 feet away from my backyard.
Luckily, no serious property damage or injury happened for me, my family, or any of my neighbors and local property owners. But, a very harrowing experience indeed.
And of course, here’s a picture of me laughing in the face of danger as I use my neighbor’s hose to stem the evil flames. (Yes, that’s right, Consultant by profession, Lucky-wannabe-firefighter by happenstance)