Friday, January 22, 2010
Engine Company No. 5
This is Central Station on Congress Street. I've told you before that growing up, if it was a 'big one' Dad was off chasing the firetrucks. I remember a Friday night. I was sitting on my bed and seemingly all of a sudden there was an explosion of orange/yellow light on my back wall; almost simultaneously the fire horn atop the station on Arbor Srreet around the corner was blaring and signaling a general alarm already. I jumped off my bed and headed to my window facing Stevens. As soon as I got there, I could already feel heat on my face, the smell of tarred timbers afire and see large ashes floating skyward. It was the old, deserted warehouse over on Forest, directly across from our house, a street away. Around our house, we'd been waiting for this place to 'go up'. As they say, it was fully engaged. Before I raced off into the darkness to find my friends and get as close as we could, I took a step back and Mom and Dad hands were on my shoulders half lending comfort, half just trying to get a better view as to just was up a street away. It was eerie, but when I looked back over my shoulder, I saw the fire's reflection across their faces. The scarcest thing was the the triple-decker just to the left of the warehouse. When I finally got in front of it, there were the third floor tenants still on the back porch screaming. That night still holds one of the most frightening images of my lifetime.