Tag Archives: fire

This is such an eventful and impactful time

17 Mar

I don’t know if everyone of a certain age feels this way, but I feel like I’ve experienced a lot of huge events in my lifetime.  Here are some (obviously not all) history I have lived through:

RICO laws essentially ended the reign of mobs in America

Exxon Valdez oil spill

San Francisco earthquake

The Berlin wall came down

The Soviet Union/USSR turning back into Russia

Rodney King beating –> LA riots

computers started entering households

The Waco standoff

The Oklahoma City bombing

The OJ Simpson trial

President Clinton’s sex scandal(s)

The Columbine Massacre

cell phones began to go mainstream

Florida (hanging chad) ballot cheating

9/11

meth is a big thing

Hurricane Katrina

smartphones

a great recession

the 1st black president

BP oil spill

Hurricane Maria

The Camp fire

and now a global pandemic that’s shutting down business in the U.S. like I never imagined was possible.

 

I omitted most spree killings, hurricanes, tornadoes, most fires, terror attacks on planes, and food recalls because there has been an overwhelming amount.

I suppose that every generation feels this way–I’ve seen those decade series produced by Tom Hanks.  It’s just strange to feel like I’m seeing large historical events that will shape us in the future.  What a weird thing to see in the first person and live through events future kids will have in their textbooks…

Embarrassed of my Classmates

3 Jun

-don’t start packing your stuff up while a guest speaker is talking.
-it’s rude and impolite and reflects on our whole program.
-it makes the speaker feel worthless and rushed.
-I wish I had a forum to send a friendly reminder to my class.

 

This was a draft I started (during the semester, obviously) but never had the time/motivation to finish.  The sentiment is clear, and my opinion the same.  I didn’t like that day because the speaker seemed a little nervous to talk to college students.  Which, you can tell a person has never attended university if they are nervous, because it’s not all hard-core and students in non-ivy-league classes are generally just happy not to be taking notes off the power point for a second.  We aren’t judging guest speakers harshly, or even giving them much thought at all.  I speak collectively–I’d like to think I care about the people.  But based on the actions of my class, who packed up their items noisily right at the strike of class-over–they don’t.  It was just another day, another lecture to them.

in the starting blocks

But I guess that’s all you can really do with that topic.  Here’s some more about my day today:  I woke up with the intention to be highly motivated and productive in my AuD application tasks.  I wanted to really hit it hard and FINISH things.  My computer had other plans.  The internet didn’t work.  After much troubleshooting the internet itself worked, just not my browser–the one with all my dozens of bookmarks I require to DO the applications things.  And it was S-L-O-W.  Also, I couldn’t get anything application to work properly.  It was just a long, arduous process of trying things.  Uninstalls, download helper apps, run scans, push buttons randomly, delete things, dig deep into programs.  I don’t know what I’m doing.  That did not stop me from entering into a frenzy of desperate maneuvers to right my computer scene.

I think the problem eventually corrected itself.  I don’t think any of my actions helped matters.  But a full 5(?) hours later, I had a functional computer and internet once more.  Mostly–now my laptop wants to overheat.  How do I take advantage of this Acer Aspire recall?  Is it too late?  They put the fan on the bottom, so it sits against the table.  Or I have to prop it up, then it wiggles as I type.  It hasn’t been my technology day.

And I was really mad, because despite having real motivation to accomplish things, I couldn’t.  I HATE that.  So it’s operation call this day a loss, go to bed early, and hope tomorrow pans out like it’s supposed to.  Well, now there’s thunder and lightening as a real message to quit looking at screen today.

Tomorrow!

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Inspirational Women: Molly Brown

23 Mar

http://the44diaries.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/little-known-black-history-fact-molly-williams/

A female firefighter?

A black woman?

Check and check.  Williams was way before her time!

  • The first woman firefighter was an African American.  Molly Williams worked along side the men of the Oceanus Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 of New York City in 1818.

Even as a slave, Williams had gained the respect of her fellow firefighters. Her story and strength paved the way for other women, including one the first paid Black female firefighters and the most tenured in the country – Toni McIntosh of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who served for over 11 years.

forest fire 5And such is typical–I can hardly find anything written about her.  To me, this is a big deal and you’d think there would be many books on the first female firefighter.  Who is also a black woman.  But I really can’t find very much aside from those facts, which just goes to show who records history and makes me wonder how much more of MY stories have been left out?  How many other woman did amazing things that we’ve never even heard of because some white man didn’t deem it important to write down?  It’s a real forest fire 6shame.

Here’s what I can find:  https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/dianne-ochiltree/molly-golly/

A children’s book.  That’s it.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s great and all, but I was hoping for a biography with substance–or at least a compilation of important historical firefighters or something like that.  How disappointing!

 

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Maine Coon for Brains

19 Dec

Poor little Choco-Luv is cold.  We don’t use the (fire-hazzard) baseboard heaters in the apartment, but we have space heaters in the living room and in the bedroom.  They’re nicer because you can set them on a threshold, heat just the room you are in, and if they get knocked over, they automatically turn off.  It keeps utilities down, and makes me feel safer.  And we supplement with electric throw blankets, goose-down comforter, and infrared light choco copy 2in the bathroom.

But Choco-Luv is much less active because she is glued to the heating blankets.  So to help her we bought a pink puffy jacket.  It’s absolutely adorable.  She HATES it.  We put it on her and she became half a milimeter tall and wiggled out of it.  So we have kept it out, put it on her during naps, petted her with it.  Just tried to get her used to it–to little avail.

Today, while I was outling my textbook, Cool put the jacket on her and tried snuggling and petting her.  She had angry tail, and sad meows.  She also sort of stalked around the kitchen in the jacket, with Cool following.  Goose, was on the other side of the wall, and looked alarmed.  He saw some pink creature pink puffy jacketwalking funny in HIS apartment, and peeked around the corner to look at it.  His eyes grew wide, and as she ran away (from the jacket) he chased (the moster).

Chco-Luv now had 2 problems:  A horrible outfit on her back.  A brother who didn’t recognize her and wanted to kill!  She hid behind the couch and he sat in the center of the living room staring toward “the pink monster.”  Goose started looking uncharacteristically puffy and like he was about to either aggress or defend.  He didn’t look as mean as the time he bared teeth at Cool (she scared him) but I’ve never seen him get so big!  I was worried we might have an IMG_4673actual-fight on our hands, and I’d have to take one or both to work for abscess repair(s).

Choco-Luv finally shed the jacket and ran toward her brother (for play/grooming) as she often does.  He looked like he might give her the teeth & claw and she veered around him at the last minute, running to the bedroom.  He chased after her (NOT in the usual playful way, then realized the monster was gone.  He stopped being in fight-mode, but still watched her with much suspicion, thinking she was some sort of shape-shifter.  As she relaxed and became less stressed and normal again, he stayed across the room eyeing her.  I could tell he was stressed and scared and pretty certain she would turn into the strange monster and get him.  garden 2 edit

We had to coax both kitties to come into the same vicinity, and when they did, Goose sniffed Choco-Luv thouroughly, trying to identify her.  When she smelled eight, he circled the apartment sniffing and looking for the stranger who had just been here moments before.  It’s been about 30 minutes and just now are the two of them bent back INTO shape!  Silly kitties.

Fireworks in my Living Room

5 Jul

Cool's Canada Pics 024In preparation for Forster Friday, I went to bed early on one of my favorite holidays–Independence Day.  At 10:15 PM, 3 hours after I’d been asleep I hear fireworks very loud and can SEE blue flashes in the bedroom, which is opposite any window in the apartment.  It sounded like the firecracker were SUPER-close.  I jumped out of bed and ran out to the living room to investigate.  Neighbors were leaning against my car Rusty and setting off their own fireworks on the sidewalk and maybe the middle of the street directly next to my car!  Cool said before I woke up they had their three year old holding a roman candle in the vicinity of my car, and the kid kept pointing the explosive TOWARD Rusty!  After much coaxing they convinced the kid to point the explosive toward the sky. . .

Cool's Canada Pics 028

Never mind fireworks are illegal in much of the state, and in our entire county for the last 28 years, these people were idiots.Cool's Canada Pics 029  Next to the sidewalk is a lot of weeds and underbrush, which leads down the treed riverbank and into the river.  On the other side of the road, aside from my CAR is rows and rows of apartment buildings, and out back of those is various landscaping:  Bushes, trees, and grass.  We are talking a lot of tinder, especially given the 90 degree weather of the past week.  I guess they not only didn’t care about fire-safety, or have common sense with children, but they must have wanted to pay the $516 fine for getting caught with fireworks in the city.

Cool's Canada Pics 034I stepped out on the balcony and shouted down, “Can you go a little further away from my car?!”  And was met with blank stares and no motion.  They didn’t feel awkward being caught propped up against my car, or by the fact I had caught them setting off illegal fireworks directly NEXT to my car (the only car parked street-side other than theirs).  Slowly, they said, “This car?”  And I was like, “Umm, yeah.”  And they meandered 2 feet in front of my car and continued on with their private display.

I was tired and really wanted to be functional for horrible Friday, which I anticipated would be very busy due to the work Cool's Canada Pics 044holiday on the 4th, but their noise and colors–and my worry continued on.  When their shannegans continued for a half hour, I tried to call the number the newspaper gave to report illegal fireworks.  And alas, it wasn’t a good number.  Thanks for nothing.  Luckily, fireworks are expensive so their private show only lasted 45 min at the most, then they just stood in the street watching the city fireworks display clearly visible from downtown.  Jerks.

What is the matter with people???????  So, in the interest of common sense and safety just a smattering of news bites and statistics regarding private citizens with explosives a.k.a. fireworks.

-The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), coordinator of the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks is marking the upcoming Fourth of July holiday by releasing its annual fireworks report (1).

-Emergency crews and police were busy Thursday with continuous fire calls throughout the day, stemming from fireworks celebrations during the Fourth of July (2).

-An estimated 17,800 reported fires were started by fireworks and 9,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2011. On a typical Fourth of July, there are more fires than on any other day of the year, with fireworks accounting for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires (1).

Cool's Canada Pics 053

-The report outlines specific statistics regarding the use of consumer fireworks related to fire danger, including:

  • In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires.
  • These fires resulted in an estimated 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage, with no reported fire deaths.
  • Sparklers, fountains and novelties alone accounted for 34 percent of the emergency room fireworks injuries in 2011.

fireworks 3

The report showed that the risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-19 and adults 25-44, with one-quarter (26 percent) of the victims of fireworks injuries in 2011 under age 15. Children have the highest relative risk of injury; there are no adult age groups with comparable risk (1).fireworks 6

-in Seattle, someone setting off illegal fireworks inadvertently set a boat storage facility on fire, causing more than $1 million in damage (4).

– It was one year ago that firefighters were called to Autumn Place apartments for a fire that engulfed one of the buildings.  Months later Blue Springs firefighters determined fireworks caused that blaze.  Now a woman who lost everything is reminding people to be careful this holiday (3).

1.)  http://www.nfpa.org/press-room/news-releases/2013/use-of-consumer-fireworks-dramatically-increases-risk-of-fire-and-injury

2.)  http://5newsonline.com/2013/07/04/fireworks-cause-several-small-fires/

3.)  http://fox4kc.com/2013/07/04/fireworks-warning-one-year-after-apartment-fire/

4.)  http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/07/fireworks-mishaps/66861/

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Circus, Circus

14 Apr

In the late 1800’s there was no internet, television, radio, movie theaters–people had to physically seek entertainment.  Thus, dozens of circuses were prominent during that era and as such, traversed (the mid-west and northeast especially) in animal-drawn caravans.

The Cooper and Bailey Circus is notably significant for exhibiting, “Columbia,” the first baby elephant born in the United States.  The little elephant was born in Philadelphia, March 1980 and P.T. Barnum immediately (who was salient in his own right for having his own wandering circus) wanted to buy the live attraction.  When this was not possible, Barnum and Bailey combined forces and journeyed all over the U.S. for various circus shows before the elephant was euthanized (by strangulation [1]) for aggression in 1907.

Side-note paragraph:  As much as I always enjoy seeing animals, and am amazed at the feats they can be trained to do, I don’t like to think of wild creatures born in captivity, and (roughly, I’d wager) peregrinated from place to place.  It makes me sad to think of poor little Columbia being housed (in inadequate areas with poor nutrition and medical care, I suspect), and trained with (more than likely) questionable methods.  It is certainly not fair to a wild animal when it is made to perform in front of thousands of loud people, which is contrary to its natural temperment, then killed–probably for acting like a normal elephant.

I choose a cartoon b/c pics that came up devastated me and made me want to barf

At any rate, back before the 1966 Animal Welfare Act was signed into law this was not just acceptable, but highly entertaining.  The AWA marked a decided turn (for the batter!) in America’s history of animal use.  It is an outstanding and comprehensive legislation that regulates not only circuses, but zoos, research facilities–really any entity that transports, houses, cares for, or uses animals in any way.  This group of statutes provides minimum standards of care and really makes our country more accountable for the way animals are treated.

Back to the topic at hand:  By the time the elephant was murdered put to sleep, both Barnum and Bailey had died.  In 1907 the Barnum & Bailey brand was purchased by The Ringling Brothers to become the Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey Circus, or “The Best Show on Earth.”  The circus did well during the 1920’s and one of the five original Ringling Brothers purchased the circus, absorbing all five traveling shows, for $1.7 million.  Though the circus struggled through the Great Depression, like everything else, it was a really big deal for spectators to see the Greatest Show On Earth.

Despite WWII, until the fateful day of July 6, 1944, the circus seemed to have the world in its pocket.  The President had even allowed the circus to continue to travel on railroads, an anomaly considering the heavy restrictions enforced for the rest of the war-weary country.  All supplies went to the military first, and the circus felt that impact.  One example:  The circus officials were not niave about the possible consequences of tent fires in their big top and asked the army, repeatedly to spare fire-retardent.  The military had been given absolute priority on the material and refused to let the circus have any.  Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey perservered through any wartime hardships-moral of the country was at stake.  Though the delays and malfunctions due to staff and equipment shortages had become ever-present, tickets still sold.

Superstition as a Premonition:  Two shows were scheduled for the July 5 and 6 Hartford, Connecticut location.  Because of delays common in that WWII period, the train arrived late making the first show too late to set up.  It had to be canceled.  In circus lore, missing a show is an extremely bad omen.  The circus performers were on high alert the next day, half expecting some catastrophe due to the poor luck they had suffered.

People from Hartford and smaller surrounding towns purchased tickets for the show.  It is difficult to know how many people from rural towns came to the circus, because at the time smaller areas kept poor residency records.  The circus also handed out an unknown number of free admission tickets in a wide radius surrounding Hartford.  There were also drifters spotted enjoying the show that day.  Total attendance was uncertain, but estimates place the number of spectators around 7,000.

About 20 minutes into the show, band-leader, Merle Evans, spotted a fire on the south wall of the tent and immediately cued the band to play, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” the known distress signal for all circus personnel.  In those days, the circus tents were myopically waterproofed with paraffin wax dissolved in gasoline.  Maybe it seemed a good idea at the time, but anyone could see the potential for trouble with that method.  Though the ring-master tried to initiate a calm, exit of patrons, the power cut out and a short-sighted panic ensued.  Approximately all 7,000 people tried to leave the big top at once, melting , fiery paraffin raining down on them.  Just prior to the fire the big cats had been performing.  Their cages blocked two exits, creating a big problem.  Though the cats were herded through chutes to caged wagons, and only sustained minor burns, the people in the audience weren’t so lucky.  The tent collapsed in 8 minutes, trapping hundreds of spectators under the flaming tarps.  People were consumed in the flames, trampled to death by unthinking escapees, escaped narrowly but went back in the blaze to find loved ones, or were burned as they patiently sat inside expecting the flames to be promptly doused and the show to go on.

Emmett Kelly, in his quest to control the burn, was pictured holding a bucket of water and looking remorseful to the point of tears.

there must be a copyright on the most recognized photo w/the bucket

He is the clown forever immortalized as the symbol for this tragedy which became “The Day the Clowns Cried.”  Fittingly for the troubled times the circus faced after the fire, Kelly’s persona was “Weary Willy” a figure that embodied many depression era hobos.  People were outraged and circus employees were called into question.  The city of Hartford was also challenged in the form of lawsuits by 600 families of victims.  The circus management, deeply sorrowful about the episode and came to an agreement with city representatives to pay all damages resulting from the fire.  On July 7, charges began flying.  Five officials of Ringling Bros were indicted on involuntary manslaughter.

The aftermath of one of the worst fire disasters in the United States was discordant.  Many of the bodies were charred so badly (cremated, if you will) they could not be identified–even with today’s DNA tests.  Because the attendance records at the circus and in the rural areas were so poor, there were people that perished and were never missed.  Mix-ups ensued as loved ones tried to identify bodies burned so badly that they were unrecognizable.  Dental records were scrutinized.  Some families accidentally claimed victims as their relations mistakingly.  Other families never found a loved one, because either there was just nothing left of them or someone had previously claimed them.

Any of these scenarios could be likely in the case of “Little Miss 1565” whose picture was tirelessly used to identify her unclaimed, well-preserved body.  The number was assigned at the morgue when nobody came forward to claim the blonde girl in a white dress.  It remains unclear to this day, who the little girl was–though many people have theories on the matter.

In 1944, when the five contrite men were tried, four were convicted to prison terms.  The judge allowed the men to continue with the circus to Sarasota, FL to help get the show back on its feet, and were eventually pardoned all-together.  By 1954, the apologeticRingling Bros Circus paid a total of $5 million to the city of Hartford.  This money had been all circus profits since the fire, which had been set aside for the purpose of paying relations of the victims.  They took responsibility for the tragedy, but not the fire itself.

It seems there are more questions than answers in the case of the Hartford Circus Fire.  It has not been proven how the fire started.  Some think a cigarette was carelessly flicked, others believe it was arson.  One man, Robert Segee from Ohio, with known, mental illness, confessed to arson then later recanted.  We may never know how the blaze began, or if it was arson, who might have been responsible.

Reading about the circus fire was enlightening.  This is exactly the reason I have a fire-phobia.  It made me happy that there are more rules for animal welfare.  It also made me think twice about going to see trained animals of any kind.  I am motivated to learn exactly how the circus treats their creatures too–I know it is a LOT easier to find PETA’s misinformation online than it is to find true facts.

Ridiculous and Uneducated

I wasn’t only concerned for the animals–I also thought about the people that may have been exploited in circuses from that time period.  I am now interested in finding some book about the “freaks” that were paraded from town to town for amusement of residents. Reading about the circus fire made me glad large shows have more guidelines to prepare for disaster.  I think circuses, concerts, and any large gathering has more of a contingency plan–not to mention better attendance policies.  I am also thankful that when there is a crises the Red Cross is so quick to step in and deal with it in an organized manner–it doesn’t sound like we had that support in those days.  Feel free to comment if you know of reading materials or other research relating to the subject matter above.

[1] http://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=1013

Eating Crow

14 Mar

Is that what they call it when you regulate on someone for doing something stupid, then you turn around and do that same stupid thing later?  So that you look really silly and have to eat your words?  And the person you originally admonished gets to laugh in your face?

So our neighbors are really obnoxious.  We have issued noise complaints against the lady next door at LEAST four times–probably more.  And the landlord doesn’t seem to care (or do anything about it) even though the quiet hours in the lease are being violated.  It’s always the same gal–Debbie.  I know her name, (and all her business) because she is so loud.  I suspect the landlord is friends with her though, as she seems more annoyed when we complain then with someone continuously breaking the lease.

Also, the apartment complex next door burned down at the hands of an extremely careless resident, so I was (understandably, I think) concerned about fire safety.  I noted the neighbors all have BBQs on their patios and I was concerned what would happen if those caught fire.  This isn’t implausible because they neighbors all smoke and drink a lot, and are generally stupid, irresponsible individuals.  I looked up BBQ, and found there is a ban on BBQs at public and shared buildings in Washington state.  Also, the lease specifies that no one should have a BBQ on their patio.  It makes sense because one person’s carelessness can burn down everyone’s unit.  It would kill our cats, and might kill us.  AND, unless you have renter’s insurance (who does?) you lose everything and won’t be reimbursed–too bad, so sad.  Also, you would be displaced from the current residence and no one has to make living accommodations for you.  All bad news.   I wrote to the landlord, voicing my fire-safety concerns, and she totally blew me off.  Was irritated I said anything, and made me feel crazy for bringing it up at all.

Cut to last Friday.  I’m at work all day and have no car.  Cool gets to hang out at home for awhile before picking me up from work.  Then, we went to Grocery Outlet to do some shopping.  While at the store our lanlord calls and says our smoke alarm is going off.  I was petrified!  Long story short, while Cool was home, she began boiling water on the stove to make tea.  Then she stupidly *insert* fucking-stupidly left the apartment to go pick me up without turning off the oven.

So the neighbors called and said the smoke detector was going off, and the landlord went inside and shut the stove off and took the battery out of the detector.  She did not open the sliding glass door or move the cats to the bedroom to open the front door.  I was livid at the situation and I was scared it might happen again.  Also, it made me look really, really hypocritical for complaining about fire hazzards, then having the biggest risk in my own apartment.

Everything inside the apartment turned out all right:  Nothing burned (not even the pan), no perminant smoke damage, and the cats were only a little nervous but otherwise unscathed.  I made sure to write the landlord a thank you for letting us know so quickly, and she just HAD to get her digs in about the neighbors.  “Thank your wonderful neighbors for saying something!”  I couldn’t stomach it–I still think the fucking neighbor is the loudest, most inconsiderate bitch, who might yet burn down the entire complex.  But since my own girlfriend is careless, I look like the shit-head.  I was so mad, I couldn’t help but to write back:  “Anyone would call if an alarm was going off for an extended period of time, not to mention possibility of impending danger to your own apartment.”

I end with:  Fuck you neighbors, I am not thankful for you in any way, Landlord, you are a biased (toward said neighbors) piece of shit, and Goddamn it Cool–please don’t burn down the house!!!!  Should I have to eat crow that’s not mine?!

Fire-Phobic

3 Feb

I just read a news article that almost made my physically ill–I’m sure I am ghostly pallid and I know I am shaken.  The apartment complex directly next door has a bunch of trash stacked on the side of the building.  It’s been there since we moved to Spokane in mid-September.  I had no idea why some apartment would besmirch the premesis with random trash!  Very recently I noticed a tarp on the opposite side of the building with trash.  When I looked closer, I saw evidence of a major fire.  One entire side of the building was desiccated so much that I do not know how I didn’t see it before.  So of course I was curious about the origin and time of the fire so I looked it up on the internet.  Surprisingly, the fire had gleaned a lot of media attention.

On September 4, at 2:30 AM, there was a four alarm fire call to that complex.  It doesn’t say how long it took to get the flames to subside, but by the time the flames were extinguished the third floor was almost entirely damaged and 21 ( think) apartments were deemed uninhabitable, displacing 60 residents.  Avista turned off the utilities to the building to stop any further electrical or water damage.  Apparently, apartment complexes are only liable for structural damage–not personal property of tenants or housing for the extricated people.  Anyway, there was a shelter set up for the victims at a local elementary school.

Turns out, the fire started because a third floor resident inappropriately put out his cigarette in a potted plant on the balcony.  And the dope was unaware of anything irregular, and was awoken to neighbors knocking on his door warning him to evacuate!  Also, he deleteriously stored gasoline on the same balcony, so when the cig sparked, the gas ignighted.  The siding on the building was no help either, as it was very flammable.  I wonder if a person that causes a fire deemed “accidental” faces criminal charges.  That retard just messed up the lives of 60 residents, not to mention property management.  The news said neither the coterie of firemen who helped put out the blaze or residents were injured or killed, but I can’t help but wonder if all the pets made it out unscathed.  The three little girls that lived in the originating apartment were sad their birds perished in the flames.  Who knows what other pets were left to burn–I shudder to think. . .

This sort of thing scares me to death!  I have to trust our lives, the lives of my pets, and all our belongings to my neighbors?!  It makes me long for the day when I can forswear apartment living all together!  And I know most of the people living in apartment complexes are idiots–that smoke.  We have balconies and people are smoking on them all the time.  It makes me wonder how they are extinguishing their cigarette and what they are keeping on the balcony.  Has anyone made rules or checked?  I have no idea.  Even if it makes me look officious, I wrote my apartment complex asking them to reassure me that some recent precautions have been taken in light of the fire in such close proximity.  I want our management to be flippin’vehement about fire prevention now that I know the story about the building next door.

I have always been terrified of a house fire–I guess I never thought I had to worry about my dumb neighbors on top of my own activities.  I have been fairly voluble about the problem to our current landlord–because I am honestly afraid.  I was verbose in my side-notes on the lease, criticizing the lack of smoking rules, and noting how though the lease prohibits BBQs, most balcony’s have one out there.  The landlord has remained consistently glib to the point of condoning fires, saying, “Accidents happen. . .”  Kidron also disregards the risks saying I should bother our landlord or be so talkative about my fire-fears, but you haven’t met our neighbors–I would be surprised if they DIDN’T cause a fire!  Cool is embarrassed that I am loquacious about living problems, but I would be more mortified if I held my tongue, and something terrible did happen when I didn’t at least try to prevent it.  I have never had a problem speaking easily about what I feel is right and wrong–but it HAS gotten me in trouble time and again.  I do not easily pardon people of irresponsible acts.  I wanted to leave our lease unsigned until the landlord made substantial changes to prevent fires, but ended up being pressured by Cool and without courage to stand my ground.

The landlord either doesn’t care about the risks or is pusillanimous to lose tenants, because she completely downplayed all my fire-safety concerns.  She completely exculpates the neighbors of any wrong-doing, no matter the consequences.  I was not too timid in my e-mail correspondence to the landlord, going as far as to tell her I would involve the fire department if I had cause to fear for my safety.  I would just hate to have cowardly responses to the landlord then have the complex, all my belongings, my cats, and our lives be taken by an accidental fire caused by the apathy of a landlord who remits people breaking rules and the dumb neighbors themselves.

Alex Carter, reporter for MSNBC writes, “Each year, outside cooking grills cause more than 6,000 fires, kill five people (and injure more than 170 others) and destroy about $35 million in property according to records compiled by the National Fire Data Center of the U.S. Fire Administration.”  So why is it that my landlord is so unconcerned?  When I asked for assurance of precautions she doesn’t address the smoking or BBQs on balconies at all, saying instead, ”  It seems it is less awkward to disregard the rules rather than being the bad guy and enforcing them.

Terrified of Fires

2 Jan

I just read a news article that almost made my physically ill–I’m sure I am ghostly pallid and I know I am shaken.  The apartment complex directly next door has a bunch of trash stacked on the side of the building.  It’s been there since we moved to Spokane in mid-September.  I had no idea why some apartment would besmirch the premesis with random trash!  Very recently I noticed a tarp on the opposite side of the building with trash.  When I looked closer, I saw evidence of a major fire.  One entire side of the building was desiccated so much that I do not know how I didn’t see it before.  So of course I was curious about the origin and time of the fire so I looked it up on the internet.  Surprisingly, the fire had gleaned a lot of media attention.

On September 4, at 2:30 AM, there was a four alarm fire call to that complex.  It doesn’t say how long it took to get the flames to subside, but by the time the flames were extinguished the third floor was almost entirely damaged and 21 ( think) apartments were deemed uninhabitable, displacing 60 residents.  Avista turned off the utilities to the building to stop any further electrical or water damage.  Apparently, apartment complexes are only liable for structural damage–not personal property of tenants or housing for the extricated people.  Anyway, there was a shelter set up for the victims at a local elementary school.

Turns out, the fire started because a third floor resident inappropriately put out his cigarette in a potted plant on the balcony.  And the dope was unaware of anything irregular, and was awoken to neighbors knocking on his door warning him to evacuate!  Also, he deleteriously stored gasoline on the same balcony, so when the cig sparked, the gas ignighted.  The siding on the building was no help either, as it was very flammable.  I wonder if a person that causes a fire deemed “accidental” faces criminal charges.  That retard just messed up the lives of 60 residents, not to mention property management.  The news said neither the coterie of firemen who helped put out the blaze or residents were injured or killed, but I can’t help but wonder if all the pets made it out unscathed.  The three little girls that lived in the originating apartment were sad their birds perished in the flames.  Who knows what other pets were left to burn–I shudder to think. . .

This sort of thing scares me to death!  I have to trust our lives, the lives of my pets, and all our belongings to my neighbors?!  It makes me long for the day when I can forswear apartment living all together!  And I know most of the people living in non-Rococo apartment complexes are idiots–that smoke.  We have balconies and people are smoking on them all the time.  It makes me wonder how they are extinguishing their cigarette and what they are keeping on the balcony.  Has anyone made rules or checked?  I have no idea.  Even if it makes me look officious, I wrote my apartment complex asking them to reassure me that some recent precautions have been taken in light of the fire in such close proximity.  I want our management to be flippin’ vehement about fire prevention now that I know the story about the building next door.

I have always been terrified of a house fire–I guess I never thought I had to worry about my dumb neighbors on top of my own activities.  I have been fairly voluble about the problem to our current landlord–because I am honestly afraid.  I was verbose in my side-notes on the lease, criticizing the lack of smoking rules, and noting how though the lease prohibits BBQs, most balcony’s have one out there.  The landlord has remained consistently glib about the subject of fires, saying, “Accidents happen. . .”  Kidron says I should bother our landlord or be so talkative about my fire-fears, but you haven’t met our neighbors–I would be surprised if they DIDN’T cause a fire!  Cool is embarrassed that I am loquacious about living problems, but I would be more mortified if I held my tongue, and something terrible did happen when I didn’t at least try to prevent it.  I have never had a problem speaking easily about what I feel is right and wrong–but it HAS gotten me in trouble time and again.  I wanted to leave our lease unsigned until the landlord made substantial changes to prevent fires, but ended up being pressured by Cool and without courage to stand my ground.  The landlord either doesn’t care about the risks or ispusillanimous to lose tenants, because she completely downplayed all my fire-safety concerns.  I was not too timid in my e-mail correspondence to the landlord, going as far as to tell her I would involve the fire department if I had cause to fear for my safety.  I would just hate to have cowardly responses to the landlord then have the hardly-ornate complex, all my belongings, my cats, and our lives be taken by an accidental fire caused by the dumb neighbors.

Alex Carter, reporter for MSNBC writes, “Each year, outside cooking grills cause more than 6,000 fires, kill five people (and injure more than 170 others) and destroy about $35 million in property according to records compiled by the National Fire Data Center of the U.S. Fire Administration.”  Obviously, it is an intricate problem!  So why is it that my landlord is so unconcerned?  When I asked for assurance of precautions she doesn’t address the smoking or BBQs on balconies at all, saying instead,