Where There’s Smoke

There’s fire.

I guess I can check off “watch a building burn” on my Things To Do Before I Die list.

Around 10:15 this evening the top floor of the building Von’s is in caught fire. I first about it when roommate Adam came back to the apartment around 11:15 or 11:30. (OK, technically I first head about it in Tom McHenry’s LiveJournal, but that seemed to be little more than rumor at the time. After all, wouldn’t I have heard about it? Of course, then Adam came in a few minutes later.)

Now, my apartment’s only a couple blocks from Von’s, no more than a few minutes on foot away. It didn’t take long after stepping outside to see the big cloud of smoke rising from the area.

When I first got near the area, the fire was still going pretty strong. Big orange flames were on the roof and coming out the top floor windows. State Street was blocked off to vehicle traffic, and there were two firetrucks on the scene (along with police, ambulance, and other emergency personnel) spraying water at the building. For a while the two sides seemed about tied; the fire would seem to die down for a little while, but then the wind would pick up or there’d be a big burst of flame and plume of dark black smoke as something in the apartments on the top floor caught fire. Sometimes there’d be so much smoke you couldn’t see anything around the building except for the lights on the fire trucks and the orange glow of the flames.

Eventually the firefighters got control, and the fire slowly started to shrink down. I watched them work for about an hour or so from a reasonably safe distance (close enough to feel some droplets from the fire hose spray if the wind was right). The fire didn’t look like it had gone further down than the top floor; at least there weren’t any flames shooting out of those windows while I was there. Fortunately the fire didn’t spread to any of the other buildings nearby. When I left it looked like most of what was left was just smoldering; there were rarely any flames visible and there was a lot less smoke, and the smoke was a lot lighter colored too. By this time the throngs of people watching the fire had thinned out significantly, no doubt worn down by the 30-degree weather and the lack of flames shooting out from windows.

From what I’ve heard, everyone who had been in the building was evacuated soon after the fire started, so I don’t think anyone got injured. But I doubt there’s much left of the apartments on the top floor.

4 Responses

  1. Argh, would everyone please stop reminding me that I need to get renter’s insurance already?!

  2. hmmm, I’m glad no one was hurt. good story

  3. Fire Safety Tip #1: Periodically check to make sure your smoke detectors actually work.

    Fire Safety Tip #2: Old furniture + old books + cramped attic + questionable wiring != fun.

  4. Fire Safety Tip #3: musty bookstore + proximity to liquor = recipe for fire

Comments are closed.