The ivy was scorched by the fire,but the fire crew managed to save not only the house but our little gazebo. This shot was taken on the empty lot that was where the fire crews stopped the blaze.
On Tuesday August 24 I was returning home from work on the freeway south from Medford fifteen miles to Ashland. I noticed a large amount of smoke coming from near where my end of town was. As I drove closer the view only got more ominous. I soon discovered my neighborhood was on fire!
A fire that started about four in the afternoon by a careless or malicious transient jumped the four-lane section of Interstate 5 near where Shirley and I live. It burned down eleven homes in all. By the time I got to the block where I live the police had cordoned off the area. I stood about with other residents and photographers from the papers.
As carelessness would have it, I had forgotten my cell phone so there was no way to contact Shirley who I assumed had left work and was heading up to the area. All I could do was manage to slip past the police roadblock on foot and take a walking trail toward the back of my block.
Imagine my relief when I saw the house still standing! There was a fire truck parked right in front of our place and the next door neighbor's. I could see part of my back fence was gone. I looked above me and two or three helicopters were bumping large buckets of flame retardant right in the narrow field just in front of our back yard! It looked very touch and go at this point. I thought about our Westie terrier, Isobel, and hoped she was safe.
When I caught up with Shirley--who had been with two ladies crying their eyes out because their home was burning--I took here the back way I had to see the house. A fire fighter from the State Forestry Department told us we had to leave. There were maybe a dozen firefighters around the area and we were really just on the perimeter of being in the way. Seeing that they were doing all they can, including hosing down our roof, we left to go and get something to eat. I help so helpless but I was also hopeful the fire would be contained.
It was. After some two dozen firetrucks and several units coming from all parts of the county, the near-by cities and the state forestry department fire/rescue teams, our small subdivision was spared only a few singed roofs and our fence. The folks in the next block over were not so lucky, although some houses in the area were spared.
As it stands a suspect is in custody. What was going through his mind if he did set that blaze in 103 degree Fahrenheit heat I don't know. I do know Shirley and I were spared being burned out of our house. I told one of the firefighter crews I would gladly go door to door the next time there is a bond issue to get them a new firetruck.
The next morning around seven a city planning inspector came around. I was standing in the back yard with Shirley in the early light. "That was sure close for you folks," he said.
A little too close.
Oh, yes, Isobel came through okay.