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What an afternoon? I had to carry the elderly neighbor three times!

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The neighbors across the street to the west, burned leaves today in what they call their backyard but which is actually a very narrow alley with two big trees and a fence not 10 feet off the back wall of their house. NOT BRIGHT!


They "assumed" the fire was out but they never wetted the remains which were smoldering not two feet from the wooden fence. Well, the wind came up, solid gusting of 20 miles per hour and at times higher. Next thing you know, they here a "whoosh" and run outdoors to find the fence, the trees, and their garage on fire. Dh and the neighbor guys couldn't even get anywhere near it with garden hoses because the wind hate it whipped up so furiously that it was too hot. We are sandwiched seven miles each direction between two volunteer fire departments so it took 17 minutes before they were on seen...it took a sheriff's deputy and state police officer 20 minutes to get here. Meanwhile, dh, a couple of neighbor guys, and myself were running around people's yards stomping out burning debris so we wouldn't end up losing more property.


The smoke was intense and even with bandanas over our mouths we were coughing machines. All of a sudden someone yelled, "Hey, is Millie still in her house!" Not to be crass, but Millie is a chain smoker of ancient years and literally has one foot in the grave. Of course she wasn't out of her house! She uses a walker and is on oxygen (and yes, still smokes while on oxygen so it is a wonder she hasn't burned herself down thus far) and takes 45 seconds to take a single step much less walk all the way to the front door. I was closest to the house, the neighbor lady next closest came running, and we burst through the door to find Millies sitting there smoking a cigarette (thankfully with her oxygen tank turned OFF) while her house filled with black smoke. She kept telling us she wanted to walk. UHM NOT MILLIE NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO TAKE FIVE MINUTES to GET TO THE FRONT DOOR! She's a mite of a thing, not a ounce over 90 lbs. and we carried her out.


She sat on my front steps for a while...wouldn't go in my house because I won't let her smoke. Then the wind shifted direction so the smoke was beginning to blow her way. We picked her up and carried her to another neighbor's house. Finally, he sister and brother-in-law came to get her and we carried her yet again. The whole time she kept smoking and though I am fine, the neighbor lady who helped me has cirgarette burns on her hand where Millie let the cigarette fall out of her mouth and it landed on the poor gal's hand!


Then we got a tongue lashing from Millie for not going back in for her cat. Two things here Millie, your cat, though I am sure a lovely creature, is not worth lung damage from smoke inhalation, and should I be crazy enough to go back in for it, would probably end up with half my hand eaten off because it will be frightened beyond belief!!


The wind was awful. The neighbor's lost the garage, the fence, the trees, and their house is probably a loss though still standing. The fire spread and was in the walls, and the water damage is going to be extreme. The neighbor's behind them lost their camper and their garage plus the aluminum siding on that end of the house was melted off. But, they should actually have minimal damage from fire and water but I don't envy the smoke damage. Millie's place is fine but will need to be professionally cleaned because it smells a lot worse than just cigarette smoke. The cat hid under her bed and being so low to the ground was just fine though I certainly had no intention of picking it up and losing digits!


I smell like I've been rolling in a camp fire and badly need a serious shower! I hope that regular shampoo will take the smell out of my hair. You just don't even want to know how odiferous dh is!


Dear volunteer and paid fireman everywhere, thank you for the job you do. You are truly, thorougly appreciated, and we honor you!!



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