Monday, July 09, 2007

Better Safe Than Sorry

About 2:30 this morning my husband awoke to the smell of smoke. It wasn't ordinary smoke, he could tell this was from a grass fire. He got up and looked out the window but couldn't see anything. We debated about what to do, but finally he decided to call 911 and let them know anyway.

While he was talking on the phone, I got up and looked out the window. By then, I could begin to make out smoke not far away. My neighbors across the street have an easement behind their houses that has dry grass and weeds growing. The smoke seemed to be coming from that direction. I encouraged my husband to call back 911 and tell them the location of the smoke.

The fire station is located right at the bottom of the hill where the easement is, so it was just about a block drive for the firemen to make. We could hear the engine sounds as they pulled up in that area. My memory of this is kind of hazy, but it seems like the smoke stopped not long after the fire engine drove up. So I'm not sure if it burned itself out, or if they put it out. Another possibility is that the fire was located in someone's back yard, and the residents put it out themselves. Either way, the smoke stopped.

I drove by the area today to see if I could see any evidence of a fire, but couldn't find any. I wonder if the firemen looked at it as a "false alarm". Part of me wanted to drive down to the fire station and explain to them that I would rather have them make the effort to make sure, than to have all my neighbor's houses burn down. Maybe they already understand this. Part of me wonders if we have a "black mark" on our 911 history.

Once before, some years back, I saw smoke coming out of my neighbor's garage. I went next door and knocked on their door. Some teenagers came to the door and explained that some boxes had caught fire, but they had gotten it under control. I went back to my house, but within a few minutes, black smoke started pouring out of their house again. Their house is so close to mine, I just couldn't risk that two teenagers (who were probably smoking in the garage) would be able to handle it alone. I called 911. When the firemen came, the fire was already out. I have always wondered if that was a black mark on my 911 history as well. Well, to those who would criticize our caution, I have one thing to say, "Better safe, than sorry."

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