FIRE! FIRE!

 Jack’s guest blog post today recounts the great fire of 2014 –

Well, that was quite an experience!

We were down in Johnson City on Monday doing radio shows and meetings and then headed home to avoid the forecast snow, arriving back in mid afternoon. Shortly afterwards I looked out the window and couldn’t see the other side of the street. Thinking it was fine snow I moved to a better position and saw clouds of dense smoke pouring out of a building only a couple of hundred yards from the bookstore. It was a NAPA auto parts store full of paint, oils, tires and other scary stuff and as I watched dumbstruck flames began to appear through the smoke. Within a short time the firefighters and police had all the surrounding streets closed and fire engines and high-lift ladders came screaming in – locals as well as from all the surrounding towns. They worked until 11 pm and then left it to burn itself out.

Next morning I walked across and saw a small fire still burning inside. Hhhmmm, I thought – that doesn’t look good! Within half an hour the whole place was blazing worse than ever and all the firefighters were back with their machines. We took a walk up to look in the evening and despite the enormous quantities of water we’d seen poured on the building for two days, there were still a number of healthy fires burning inside. Finally this morning it looks as if it has really has burned out!

Through the whole thing I was torn between disbelief that this was actually happening, the danger of the  whole place exploding in all directions, and fascination at the scale of it – a great column of smoke, enormous flames, the apparent ineffectiveness of the enormous quantities of water being poured down on it (and how quickly we could evacuate our dogs and cats).

Now that it really does seem to be over, my final thought is for two groups of people – the owners and workers in the business that has gone, and the brave men and women who battled to keep it from spreading to the adjacent buildings (including our bookstore).

Finally, pictures –

and gets worse

and gets worse

It starts

It starts

and even worse

and even worse

Then yesterday morning

Then yesterday morning

Half an hour later

Half an hour later

Last night

Last night

Meanwhile Owen is ready to go!

Meanwhile Owen is ready to go!

 

 

 

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “FIRE! FIRE!

  1. afterwordsbooks

    How scary! So relieved that all are safe.

  2. Sue Wallis

    Sorry for your community’s loss. Glad you are safe. The fire that warms our homes and cooks our food can turn deadly and destructive in the blink of an eye. My husband was a volunteer firefighter for twenty- five years. We have great respect for fire here at our house.

  3. Janice Brooks-Headrick

    Wendy & Jack, Two years ago April, a fire on top of our English Mt. burned 30 condos and about 150 acres of woodland, which surrounded many homes. The homes were all spared, but it took five counties dept.s to do it. Within about100 yards of our house. Scary, fascinating. Great photos. Jan Janice Brooks-Headrick 865-429-1783 Storyteller Author Instigator facebook.com/janice.brooksheadrickCorresponding SecretarySmoky Mountain Storytellers Association

  4. When our neighbors house burned in January, I could only stare in awe at the immensity of the flames. Things exploded, smoke and steam rolled together in the frozen air as we stood wrapped in old quilts watching their memories burn. But no one was hurt, thank God.

    I am glad everyone was safe in this fire, Jack. It could have been such a tragedy. As it is, it’s only money and things, and those can be replaced.

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