a quiet sunday afternoon - then not so quiet

Dad called this afternoon. He said he and Mom nearly had heart attacks when they were returning home after grocery shopping at the Wally-mart in East Tawas. He said when they got to the part of Cedar Lake Road (in Oscoda, Michigan, where they live) where they could see their house over the golf course (Lakewood Shores), they spotted a huge pillar of smoke rising into the sky. And it looked like it was just where their house was—but there was too much smoke to get a good view.

It’s in our family’s genetic code to expect the worst. So they fully expected to see their house engulfed in flames when they approached their driveway. But they were lucky—it was the house across the street from theirs. They had to go around the back way to get to their driveway because there were so many emergency vehicles blocking the road and, when they finally made it to their driveway, they had to wait for an EMS vehicle to get out of it so they could pull their van into the garage and get it out of the way.

The house that was burning is not directly across the street—the development is not set up like that—but at more of an angle. So they watched the sad spectacle from their back porch. The house that was burning belongs to a large family with a lot of kids—a wild bunch, but not mean or threatening in any way to the neighborhood (which is mostly older couples, retirees mainly, such as my parents). The only real complaints the neighbors had about the family is that the yard was unkempt and they left the bright lights on too late at night and the kids could be better supervised.

According to a neighbor who pays attention and asks questions, the fire was started when one of the kids was playing with a lighter in the garage. The garage is, or was, stuffed with stuff, Dad said, so he’s not surprised it got out of control so quickly. Here is a photo he took (click to enlarge):

burning neighbor house by James Fleming, Oscoda, Michigan August 3, 2008

Dad said the house is uninhabitable—the photo shows the roof just gone. He said the kitchen is gone (besides the garage). He said everyone got out okay and no one was hurt, which is good. It’s a rough thing to have happen. And I wonder how long the house will sit there burned out or if they’ll tear it down or rebuild it right away—I hope so.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/03/08 at 08:15 PM
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