Thursday, August 27, 2015

Nosy Neighbors Are Good

Well, maybe nosy neighbors aren't great, but they can be a good thing. Yesterday was proof of that.

After a bit of work stress built up, I went outside for a quick bike ride around the neighborhood. This is pretty normal and it helps me a lot. Not only do I get to clear my head but I get some fresh air and a little exercise. The route is usually only a mile or so long and doesn't take me long.

As soon as I got on my bike, I smelled some smoke. It didn't smell like wood smoke or even leaves burning, but more acrid like burning plastic or rubber. I saw no smoke and the smell wasn't that bad so I continued on my merry way. By the time I got a quarter mile down the road, I could see some light smoke coming from a neighbor's house. It wasn't heavy and I just assumed they were burning something in their burn pile which they occasionally do.

I headed around the loop and didn't think much of it other than maybe going a little slower when I went by their house just to be nosy. By the time I got back around, there was a thick, black column of smoke coming from behind the house instead of their burn pile. My dad's truck was in their driveway and I could see him walking around the house.

My Spidey senses went off so I rolled into the driveway to see what was up. Within a few minutes we determined that nobody was home, there was a small debris pile on fire, and that the fire department needed to come. So as he walked to dispatch, I drove his truck back to my house to grab a fire extinguisher.

I managed to put a good dent in the fire which had continued to grow in size and intensity in just the few minutes I was gone. It had gone from a smallish fire with heavy smoke to large flames with heavy smoke and started to creep up the porch post.

The fire department arrived in a few minutes and quickly doused the flames. Dad and I left our contact info as they were mopping up and then we left. Still no word on what happened but the best guess is a large projection TV was left outside (unplugged) and the clear plastic screen acted as a magnifying glass and started the fire.

In the end, my dad's curiosity saved her house. I'm not sure I would have arrived in time to do that especially since I didn't have my phone on me. My getting the fire extinguisher saved her porch. If we had just sat there and waited for the fire department, it would have caught fire before they arrived. And the fire department obviously saved the day. The fire extinguisher only put a dent in the flames but they made sure everything was clear.

So nosy neighbors do help and can be a good thing. Not necessarily a great thing, and maybe sometimes annoying, but they can be good.

This marks the second active fire that I can remember being a part of. It was the smallest and the only one I helped put out. The other fire was way back in my college days where a dorm three floors below us caught fire and we had to evacuate the building. It was a scary night.

One of the many things to take away from this is you should always know where your fire extinguisher is. And know your address. And carry your phone with you. Some of these lessons should be taught to your kids at a young age.

Finally, I'm extremely happy with what happened yesterday. No, not that some lady's junk burned up. Or that I get the chance to make myself look like a hero. I'm happy that I did the right thing. There are so many times in my every day life that I don't do the right thing or do the easy thing instead of what needs to be done. There's a book or story or something about there about the dog poop and who is going to pick up it. I hate it but it teaches a good lesson. Sometimes you need to just stop and do the right thing. Even if that means it's uncomfortable or dirty. And in those few moments, I made the right decision. And that's what makes me so happy.

If you're interested in somebody that's even better at doing the right thing all the time, check out Wranglerstar's YouTube channel. He does a lot of homesteading videos but his most recent ones are of him fighting forest fires in Washington.

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