Rest Area 300m: Fire!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I was a fireman once. In my spotty youth.
I joined the volunteer fire brigade. Obviously this was so that I could drive a V8 fire engine, sirens & lights going full blast, and be a legitimate vandal. You could smash down doors with an axe, shatter windows with the nozzle of the hose, and generally create mayhem.
I remember the satisfaction of blowing assorted canned food off shelves in a blazing grocery store with a high pressure hose. Seeing an old style set of scales melting like a Dali painting, a burning wheel of cheese that smelt delicious, & being blown back out the door by an exploding case of fly spray.
Putting out fires was a crude art consisting of dumping a huge quantity of water on to it, generally we put the fire out but left a heap of charred wreckage behind.
A Couple of years ago I had a shop. It caught fire about 3 in the morning, and soon spread into the joining camping ground kitchen and ablution block. The local fire brigade arrived in about 25 minutes from 35 kilometers away. They arrived to an inferno. The flames were twice as high as the building. They were cool efficiency. Using a mist nozzle they went around the building and damped the fire down till it was just a fire. Then they tackled the fire itself. In twenty minutes it was out. They saved a good half of the building and did little damage. They were brilliant.
I had invested every buck I had into stock for the shop, suddenly it was gone, alas no insurance. The fire brigade left me a leaflet, "After A Fire", then left.
I struggled along for a year, mostly numb. You really do feel grief for what was lost, but fire also cleanses and causes new growth.
Now I work on the road. I enjoy it. I hardly ever think of what I had. Only when the fire siren goes off in town and the engine races past.


Male. Lives in New Zealand/North Island/The Road, speaks English. Eye color is blue.
This is my blogchalk:
New Zealand, North Island, The Road, English, Male.

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