Friday, August 1, 2008

One idiot with a firecracker

This is what our complex looked like before one person decided it would be fun to play with firecrackers indoors.

Result? A parking lot full of firetrucks, a building gutted, and eight households homeless. I'm fine, but a bunch of my neighbors weren't nearly as lucky -- their building, a two story brick multiple-unit structure like the one beyond the pool, is totally gone.

No human lives lost, so far as anyone knows, but the fire spread so fast not everyone was able to grab their pets. Firetrucks are still in the parking lot up the hill, satellite trucks and media types in the lower parking lot, some perky blonde from the CBS affiliate preparing to do a stand-up live at 11 report close to my front door. I have no clue what caused the fire to spread as fast and as hot as it did, but it was definitely one of the most frightening things I've ever seen.

Update -- and here's the video from Channel 11.


  1. oh my goddess.. so glad your sorry about your neighbors...that is terrible...

  2. Glad you're OK. Sorry about your neighbors. Your concerns about flame spread is valid. The contents of most American homes is a latent disaster. Carpets, drapes, extremely flammable foam used in furniture, toxic when burned plastics and resin filled wood products. The only thing that amazes me is that this is not a far more common an occurence.

    One more thing - buy and maintain a good 5lb+ fire extinguisher in your home - it's cheap insurance. As demonstrated by this event, small fires can get out of hand very quickly when surrounded by a myriad of flammables.

  3. Holy crap!

    Glad you're okay, Nan, and totally pissed on your behalf.

  4. It did not help that this complex, much as I love its architectural elements (it's a great example of a mid-century modern garden apartments design)is over 40 years old so was not built to current code (assuming Georgia has one, which I sometimes doubt). Floors are not fire-stops, the dry wall is just one layer between apartments (probably 1/2 inch on each wall rather than the double layer of 3/4 inch on each side -- which is supposed to add up to 3 inches between units), etc. Then when you add in the framing with Georgia pine, wall to wall carpeting, . . . we do have a fire extinguisher, and for sure we test our smoke detectors on a regular basis.

    Fire trucks were here all night, and are just now (at 9 a.m.) packing up to leave.

    Naturally, life being what it is and insurance companies all being run by people who assume they'll never have to pay out, on top of everything else he has to deal with, the manager is busy today trying to figure out where he can get a new policy for the remaining buildings -- because he knows the current one is going to be cancelled any second now.

  5. Boy, that was to close for comfort, glad it didn't get to you. My mother lost a home to fire, I had to go through the remains and salvage what I could, very little actually, and then tear it down, alone. It's hard on the soul to go through that.

    Helen has a wheeled walker that she uses at times, but for some reason won't take it when I take her to the bank. She turned 86 in June.

  6. I hate fireworks anymore for a number of reasons and would like to see them banned.

  7. I can't live in a place like that, my property is outside the city limits and I do what I like with it.

  8. I'm glad you're safe. My main house was built in 1894 or there about. The little house was the first building on the property and who knows when it was originally constructed. But since the mid fifties nothing has been done to the enterior of the main house--lathe and plaster everywhere. It was rewired in the fifties, but needs to be gutted and redone. But times being what they are, I can't afford to do it. The thing I have to keep reminding myself is, it's been standing since 1894. They must have done something right.

  9. Holy cats, Nan! I'm so sorry to hear that you came that close to catastrophe and the your neighbors suffered such loss.

    I'm so glad you're okay. What a terrible thing to have happen. Fire scares the hell out of me.

    I'm wondering who manages the property (company). What a headache for them, too.

  10. Interesting video. Those unpartitioned attics scare me.

    And there's no "L" in DeKalb County, huh?

  11. Excitement no one needs! Glad you're OK. Fireworks are like many things; dangerous when operated by idiots. Once again, glad to hear you're OK.


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