The quiet of a Monday afternoon in mid-April was broken by the sound of sirens. That’s not unusual where I live. With a fire station and a hospital both within close proximity, sirens are actually a regular occurrence.
What was unusual was that the sirens didn’t stop. Emergency vehicles could be heard one after another, after another … like a train going by. It was obvious that something very serious had happened.
My curiosity was satisfied not much later when the first reports on Twitter started to pop up … there had been a house explosion about 4 kilometers north of my home.
The next morning, with road closures still in effect around the site, I ventured out on foot to see what was happening. Although I could get nowhere near the house, it was interesting to watch the flurry of activity from all the local news outlets, Fire Marshall’s Office and police.
A man died in that explosion. I had heard that several propane tanks were found in the garage and believed to be the source of the blast … although I don’t know whether that information was accurate.
I’d completely forgotten about this incident … until today. I had been out running errands and drove by where the explosion had occurred. I was stunned at what I saw.
It’s been 3 months since that afternoon and not surprisingly, the house was completely gone. I wasn’t prepared however to see how much damage had been done to the surrounding homes. Damage that still hasn’t been repaired.
I assume that the house beside the explosion had been condemned as unsafe, because it too had been torn down. Four other homes surrounding them were severely damaged and are boarded up … unoccupied.
I was left with a very odd feeling. Six families were significantly affected by this incident … the loss of a loved one, the loss of homes, the disruption of their lives. I can only imagine how many more were affected in various degrees of property damage and emotional trauma.
The 2 vacant lots and 4 heavily damaged houses are like scars that haven’t healed yet. They are a reminder of how quickly our lives can change without warning.