Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fire, where's the fire!

It was three o'clock, early Sunday morning on May 23, 2010, I had just turned off the reading light after a few chapters of Tatiana de Rosnay's novel, Sarah's Key and barely dozed off when I heard my name excitedly called out from the living room. Disoriented from the intrusive sudden awakening, the first thing that came to mind was 'fire', where's the fire! Literally, there was a fire. Hungry flames engulfed a building among the few homes that were randomly slapped on the mountain not far from our apartment complex. It looked mean with a promise to full destruction. I felt a sudden pang of sadness as we stood from our third floor apartment living room window watching a horrific site and can't help but wonder and worry that there may be people trapped in that towering inferno.

As we stood by the window for what seemed like an eternity, it was apparent from the movements of revolving red lights, that fire trucks were having to drive back up and down the hill to what we suspected was due to poor water supply in that location, therefore water had to be hauled in from the nearest point of origin.

Later on that day, we learned from the local news that it was the Robles Del Rio Lodge—a vacation destination that sat idle for more than a decade that was completely destroyed by the fire. Sadly, Carmel Valley California had just lost an iconic structure to what the local newspaper reported, 'Fire officials called 'suspicious blaze'.' Although the building can be replaced, the artifacts that were once held inside will never be seen and admired again. But fortunately, no one was injured in the fire.

Never before have I witnessed anything like it. My mind was racing with the consequences and the 'what ifs' as I stood and watched helplessly. It wasn't difficult to figure out when the water supply had run out and when it was in full blast judging from the rise and fall of the blaze. Spent from this awful tragedy, I decided to go back to bed an hour or so later. Sleep didn't come easy and when it finally did, it didn't last very long. It was shortly after 8 when I woke up and immediately got up to see the progress made by the fire crews. A thinning smoke rose and danced with the obvious slight morning breeze into the horizon. I felt at ease knowing that the blaze had been successfully extiguished and the unharmed fire crews were able to contain the fire. This triggers a childhood memory about a time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. "A firefighter." I beamed with purpose.

It is a brand new day, a sad day for some, but for the most part, no one was injured and in some ways, it is a good day! Thank you to the many men and women who have chosen firefighting as a career. Truly, you make a difference!

Patty Cabanas , is the co-editor of Feasts of Phantoms and Sulfur Creek, and copy editor of several Fisher King Press publications, including The Sister from Below and Re-Imagining Mary. Her Out of the Shadows book cover design, have garnered rave reviews from a chorus of Jungian enthusiasts. Find out more about Fisher King Press at www.fisherkingpress.com and Genoa House at www.genoahouse.com.

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