It’s been a rough night. It started in the afternoon with storms sweeping across the Midwest and into the Southeast. Laura came home to find her mom in her raincoat with purse in hand, heading down to our basement. She heard “tornado warning” on the radio, and not knowing the location of counties, etc., thought it must be for our area.
Friday is usually our “date night”, and we had planned to go out that evening as well. Once we had reassured Laura’s mom that no bad storms were headed our way, we were able to go ahead with our plans. We had a very nice leisurely meal at The Lazy Goat, then headed on home just in case any storms were on their way.
When we got to our street we noticed a deputy sheriff’s car up near John Knox church. As we turned onto our street, this was the scene that greeted us…
The entire street was blocked off with emergency vehicles. We counted seven fire trucks. It looked like most of these were concentrated at the top of the hill on our street, right where our house is. Fearing the worst, we parked the car at the church and dashed up the street on foot, running across neighbors’ yards to get around the fire trucks, etc.
As we got closer we saw that it was not our house, but our neighbors Charlie and Perrin, two doors down from us. The house was ablaze, and things did not look good. Fortunately, everyone was out of the house and was OK.
By the time we got there the house had already been on fire for about an hour and a half. These two shots were taken by our neighbor Nikki at the height of the blaze…
The neighbors gathered, and we did what we could to provide chairs, blankets, etc for our friends. Charlie had been in the lower part of the state and had not arrived, so Perrin was trying to deal with things on her own.
By 10:00 it seemed that the fire was finally out. Perrin and her family would stay with Ross and Susan, who live between our two houses, and they would deal with the aftermath in the morning.
At 1:30 am we were jolted awake again. A storm was raging with lightening, thunder, and heavy rain. What had awakened us, though, were more flashing lights. The fire had rekindled, and the fire trucks were back. Laura and I were both hoping that the pouring rain would help with fighting the fire.
I woke up late Saturday morning, and stepped out to see how things were going. Charlie had returned, and was in a state of shock – understandably so. Fortunately, as bad as it looked, it seemed that most of the damage was contained to one end of the house. Brick interior walls had prevented the fire from spreading, so there was much that could be salvage.
This was good news. In addition to personal belongings, there were items of historical significance in their house. Perrin’s grandfather was William Coxe, the locally famous photographer who documented Greenville’s history. There were several of his photos in the house, and their loss would have been devastating.
Even so, it’s a hard time for their family, and there’s lots to be done. The recovery team from the insurance company had already arrived and the long process of putting things back together had begun.
This was the second fire alert in our neighborhood in as many weeks. The house directly across from Charlie and Perrin’s house had the carport catch on fire. Fortunately, that was contained just to the carport. I’m hoping that this isn’t a sign that our neighborhood is particularly flammable, or that someone has it in for us.