Just as we were finishing up our lasagna, a fire call came through. Engine one responded first since the initial call just reported smoke. The fire chief and fire marshall were on their way back from lunch about that time, and they just happened to literally right around the corner from the house. They hurried on over and as they walked the outside smoke began billowing from the windows on the side of the house. A quick update on the radio changed the call, and ladder one departed. I followed. As did trucks from stations two, four, and five.
The house was vacant, so no one was inside. A neighbor called it in when he saw the first traces of smoke. He also happened to know a friend of the owner, so he was contacted as well. The owner was a retired fire fighter who has several houses around the city that he rents out. I had a chance to talk with him after everyone else left. He’s trying to sell his houses and get out of the business. His theory was that the disgruntled renter he had just evicted from that particular unit had stacked up some trash near the front door and set it on fire before he left. We’ll see whether the fire marshall’s office confirms that. The fire was contained to that small area by the front door. Now all the owner faces is a pretty big cleanup before he can put the house back on the market. Much better than a major demolition of a completely burned out structure. The quick call by the neighbor, close proximity of the chief, and rapid response by the fire fighters certainly kept it from becoming much, much worse.
Psalms 17:7-8 says, “Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”
Father, thank you for a neighbor’s willingness to get involved, a fire chief’s quick thinking, and a team of well-prepared fire fighters. Amen.