Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fire!


One week ago today, I heard Mabel (Margaret and Michael's dog, who was at our house for doggie day care) barking like crazy. When I went to let her in, I saw a low-burning fire all along our back fence. It seemed to be in the neighbor's yard, which was filled with billowing white smoke. Next thing I know, the  fire looked like it was on our side of the fence, licking at the base of a tree. (It was! We were left with a patch of scorched ground and trees after the fire was out.) I called 911. Then I went outside. The fire department was already there. I wasn't the only one to dial 911.

The neighbor was already telling his story to the fire investigator. He claimed he'd started raking leaves after getting home from work and that the first he knew of the fire was when he heard it crackling. A case of spontaneous combustion, according to him. My first thought was that he'd been burning leaves and had lost control of the fire. He seemed to be suggesting that it started in both our yards simultaneously, but most of the burn was on his side of the fence. Actually, before I even came out of our house, I'd seen a big flare-up on his side of the fence near his pile of leaves. The fire investigator wasn't exactly buying his story. He took me aside and questioned me about mischievous kids, neighborhood vendettas, etc. Meanwhile, a Pauline Bunyan of a fire woman, with a huge ax, was chopping up a smoldering woodpile along the fence of a third neighbor.

Phil was away at the time. When he got home, he said he'd seen the neighbor burning stuff in his back yard five or six times recently. He says he complained to me about it, but I must have tuned him out. Otherwise, I would have told the fire investigator. The investigator had left his card, so Phil called him.  The house in question used to be a group home and we'd thought it still was, but the leaf-burner is apparently the new owner and has been living there since last summer. The fire investigator thanked Phil for the new information and said he'd go have a little chat with the neighbor about Rule # One: It is illegal to set an open fire in our county. In fact, the county had just issued a "red flag" alert that very day, which meant no fires of any kind due to dry conditions. 



6 comments:

Lena said...

Oh my goodness! How scary. Glad they put it out before it caused more damage!!! Good thing Phil called the fire investigator back. It would not be good for the neighbor to think he got away with it!

PseudoPiskie said...

Wow! Hope the neighbor got the message and doesn't try to burn the neighborhood again!

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Golden To Silver Val said...

Why is it that there are some people who think laws and/or rules are implemented just for other people and not them? Seems like every neighborhood has to have at least one. The other day we could hardly breathe around here because one of my neighbors was burning leaves (forbidden in my city). I also want to thank you for your regular visits to my blog....so glad that you keep hanging in there through my unpredictable posts. Be well.

Plant Lady said...

What if no one would have been home? Glad all turned out well. Here's to 911.

Nancy Chisum said...

He had a lot of gall trying to sell that weak story but the scariest part is he is doing it and will probably try it again! It might pay to keep a watch on that guy and a water hose handy! What a nut! We are almost always under a burn ban here due to drought.