As a result, I've been without internet connections since Wednesday afternoon!
Wednesday morning, I went to the office and had a fairly productive morning and early afternoon. I completed one of the projects I was working on, gave updates on two of the other projects, and celebrated the birthday of one of my colleagues (we all gathered in the conference room to share a cheesecake!) I received a phone call from the dental clinic confirming my appointment for the next day and asking if I can come at 3:30 p.m., instead of 3:00 p.m.
Shortly after that, around 3 p.m., I received a phone call from my cousin who lives across the street from me, saying that the garage of the house next door to mine was on fire and although the fire fighters were at the scene, putting out the blaze, I had better come home. She sounded really scared. I informed my supervisor, who immediately told me to go home. On my drive home, I was praying that my house will be spared any damage and I was hoping that poor Dancer was alright.
When I turned into my street, I could see at least 6 or 7 fire trucks lining the street. One was parked such that its open doors were blocking the entrance to my driveway, where fire hoses were laid out. I pulled into my other neighbor's (neighbor T, to the right of me) driveway and parked there. I was trying to call her from my cellphone to ask her if it was OK for me to park in her driveway (there was no room to park on the street), when she came out from her neighbor's house, looking white as a sheet and shaking. Apparently, one of the embers landed in her backyard and started a small grass fire there! Also, she had no phone service, she told me, as the fire had damaged the phone lines that ran behind our houses. I told her I'll check on my house and then, come back.
|Fire Hoses in my Driveway|
By the time I got home, the fire had been put out although there was still some smoke visible and the fire fighters were up on the neighbor's garage roof, opening it up to vent it:
|Fire Fighter on the Neighbor's Garage Roof|
The smell of smoke was very strong:
|Fire Fighter Venting the Roof|
There is perhaps three feet between the garage, which has been converted into an unpermitted dwelling unit, and the side wall, with one of my guava trees growing right against the wall (and branches growing over the wall!)
|A Bit Hazy from the Smoke|
The fire fighters were there for a long time, making sure everything was under control before they left.
|The Damaged Roof|
Some embers had fallen into my back yard:
|Embers in my Backyard|
I was glad that the "lawn" had been mowed the week before and I had watered the garden over the weekend:
|More Embers in my Backyard|
Although my grass is mostly dead, nothing caught fire. I did find a burnt branch in the orange, tree, but it had not spread! My house was not damaged by the fire and that is truly a blessing!
After I checked the backyard and located Dancer hiding under my bed, I walked over to the neighbors whose garage burnt. The lady of the house was sitting on a chair in the sidewalk, crying; a family member by her side. She hugged me when she saw me and I asked her if she needed anything (the family member translated for me and said she didn't need anything). Then, I went to check on my other neighbor, T. As she was without phone service and needed to call her daughter, I called her daughter for her. Then, I went home and called my supervisor to let her know that everything was OK. I had phone service as my home phone is not a landline.
On Wednesday, I was grateful for:
- No one got hurt in the fire
- My neighbor's main house was undamaged
- My house was undamaged
- My garden was undamaged
- Dancer was OK
- I had electricity and phone service, even if no internet and TV
My neighbor S who lives across the street from me called later in the evening. She said she and neighbor E who lives nextdoor to her, came over and knocked on my door to check on me during the fire. I thanked her and said I had been at work!
I missed not having internet service! For the first time since my daughter went to Berkeley, I couldn't video chat with her! I read in the evening and actually went to bed a little after midnight (early for me!) Not having internet service, however, was just a minor inconvenience. I feel truly blessed and grateful that the house was not damaged!