Yeah, no, really. I just did. I'm hot, and there's still ashes on my palms, and I smell like smoke, and my nerves are still a bit frayed. However, since I may not ever get the chance to be a hero again in anything that's not a videogame, I feel like I should blog about it immediately and bask in the glory of my good deed. I won't brag about it either, because that would be immodest and unseemly. Even though I did kinda just kick ass!
Our story begins with our hero getting booted off the couch--where he had spent the bulk of the afternoon alternating between playing Pokemon on his DSi and napping--so that he could accompany his wife on a walk to the local market, along with the dog, Mila.
The walk to the market went fine, and so we can skip over the details there and jump right to the good part, on the way back, where I get to be awesome. So the wife, dog, and I are rounding the corner about three blocks from our house. As we make the turn, we see an abandoned couch just off the sidewalk...on fire. At this point, the fire is small. Just the very top of it has flames on it. There's no immediate evidence as to what caused it other than that it's scorching hot today. But, anyway, yeah, FIRE.
For one second, the wife and I are frozen. Like, uhhhh...is this our problem? What do we do? There is that microsecond that your brain has something maybe not unlike shock, or just stunned surprise, when you are still processing the event in progress and have yet to make a choice. But the choice usually happens before you even realize you've made it. And such was the case with us, as we both instantly leaped into "HOLY SHIT WE HAVE TO PUT THIS FIRE OUT NOW" mode.
The first thing that happened is that the wife tried covering the flame with a blanket that was sitting on the couch, which worked for about 5 seconds before that in turn went up in flames. And now we had a real fire, as the whole couch lit up. Black smoke began billowing, as both the wife and I immediately started banging on the closest doors to see if anyone had a hose. Meanwhile, another woman passing by on her bike dialed 911. I should mention that one foot away from this flaming couch is a parked car. And about two feet behind the flaming couch is the wooden fence of a home.
Now neighbors are coming out of their doorways, and the first thing I notice is that no one--not one person--comes over to help. As if this wasn't their problem---and that it was my problem, in fact. Even though, ya know, really, this wasn't "my" problem, technically, in that I neither started the fire, nor, in fact, lived on this street. But, okay. I'm here. They see some random couple dealing with it. They probably thought it was our dumb asses that got the couch on fire in the first place.
Still. The experience, with a few of the folks we encountered, was not too heartening. One house where I banged on the door, yelling, "there's a fire next door! Do you have a hose?" was met with silence even though I could see people right there through the window looking. The guy right next door to the house with the couch on fire just looked blankly at my wife, and then at the fire, as if he'd never seen either--a woman or a fire--in his life, and then proceeded to do nothing.
But, again, okay. Whatever. The next door I go to, a guy is coming out of his house just as I'm walking up to the door, and he gets it immediately. His two little boys are fascinated by the flaming couch, of course, but he waves them back as I yell "get your hose!" and he gets it and feeds it to me as I go across the street with it, hoping it will reach.
He turns the water on full blast, and yes, it does reach. Thank god. So, I have at it, going as fast as I can to douse this thing. And even though it's just a couch, it takes awhile to get it under control. It was scary that way. I'd think I had it, but flames would pop up somewhere else. Once at least the main blaze was contained, the guy helping me came over and helped me tip the couch over to get underneath, which was still blazing. The whole thing took probably 7-10 minutes, at which point the fire department arrived, basically just to deal with the aftermath.
They took my name and phone number, one of the firefighters joked "do you want my job?" and we were on our way with the dog back home.
Before this little detour, I had been looking forward to a cup of fresh coffee when we got home. After this, however, I opted for a beer.