At first I stood there transfixed. The sight of a shell of a house with orange yellow flames leaping from what only a few minutes before had been windows or doors, tall pillars of flames where the roof line should have been, the scent of smoke all conspired to transport me to 1961. Not since then have I witnessed in person a house completely consumed in flames. The scene around me brought me back to reality and 2010. In 1961 there had been no neighbors gathered round, no firemen with silver reflective stripes on their backs, no firehoses soaking surrounding trees and houses, no fire engines or ambulances. There had been only our little family of four to fend for ourselves, to escape from the awful heat and orange flames.And, oh, yeah. I even had a camera tonight. I've wished any number of times I'd had a camera that other night. My love of the visual extends even to recording my own story of tragedy.
So I snapped a few shots. Prayed for the people. Questioned a few people to assure myself that the occupants were safe.
And I walked the block home, thankful that it had only been one house, that everyone will survive. Sad that not one single thing is retrievable from the rubble.
I prayed for them because I knew that this evening would forever be a defining moment for that family, for those involved.
I knew that someday each might encounter a situation and remember 2010.Full story of Elma Street explosion. Click here.