Picture it: 5:30 AM. My guy and I are both sound asleep in our bed. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, we both snap awake. The house is filled with a burning, scorching smell. Holy shit! Did we forget to blow out the candle before bed? Did we fail to turn off the oven? The motion detector light snaps on behind the house. Don't ask what inspired us to do this, given that the stray cats around here set it off about ten times a night, but we both hop up and look out the window. There's something...strange back there. Something glowing. Something dark and smoky. HOLY SHIT, THE HOUSE BEHIND US IS ON FIRE!
All through the early morning, we could hear the windows of the burning house cracking and the occasional gust of water hit our own house. At one point, I looked outside and realized I could see right through the gable of the house. The whole roof is basically over here now. My guy went out to move our cars because they were getting pelted with water, foam, leaves, and pieces of charred wood and asphalt shingles. It still stinks over here. I don't know if you've ever smelled a house burning, but it smells really, really bad, not nice like a campfire, but acrid like burning plastic. No one was hurt, or killed or anything. I guess the house was abandoned, and slated to be torn down anyway. Well, it's happening now!
Fortunately, I had today off from work. We spent most of it catching up on the sleep we lost, then cleaning all of the pieces of roofing, charred wood, broken glass and nails out of the driveway. Fortunately there was a garage between the burning house and our cars, house and driveway, or we'd be in real trouble. There's a vacant lot right next to us and the area up by that house is crammed with debris. I took my car to Delta Sonic and got it all cleaned off and shined up. One tire was almost completely flat, and I'm hoping we didn't back over a nail or anything when my guy moved it for me early this morning (awwww). It's still all wet back there, too.
So here's a list of things I didn't know about house fires:
1. They smell really, really bad.
2. The electric company comes while the fire is still in progress to cut the power.
3. In addition to all of the utilities you'd expect to show up pre-demolition, like gas, water and electric, the phone company comes as well.
4. Debris scatters about 50 feet.
5. The house can still look more or less the same (except for the fact that the whole roof is on the property behind it) and still need emergency demolition.
6. "Emergency demolition" doesn't necessarily mean "that day." The house is still up right now.
Mostly, I hope the city comes to clean the vacant lot next to us. Even though it's not our property, we still have to look at it every day. It's bad enough that there's the rusted-out grill out there and the fallen-dwon chain-link fence. I don't want to be staring at charred wood and pieces of shingle all winter!