It was the last day of school and I was driving home with the kids.
As I neared my street, I saw a HUGE PLUME of black, boiling smoke rising up into the sky. It was thick and scary looking. And it was very, very close to us. It was just behind some trees and behind some houses to where I was driving…. and I slowly realised that OMG the fire was in my street.
My heart almost stopped.
WHAT IF MY HOUSE WAS ON FIRE?????!!!!!
I had to choke back a scream.
I pulled into the final turn, and it seemed as bad as I had feared.
A guy in a uniform was stopping traffic going into my street, which was a haze of smoke. People were milling around in curiosity and panic. A fire engine roared past me, and stopped in front of my house.
And then I saw the actual fire.
It wasn’t in a house.
It was in a car, parked outside my house.
The whole front of the car was a ball of fire, just like in a movie, and the air was poisonous with the smell of burning plastic and paint and god knows what.
I was so relieved, I was fighting back tears.
I could see that the car hadn’t crashed. It was just parked like normal… but on fire. A guy I didn’t recognise looked like most people would look if they were watching their car on fire and they can’t believe it was happening. I was so glad I was not him, watching my house burn down.
My boys in the car were going – THAT’S SO COOL!!
The fire brigade men and women raced through an obviously well rehearsed procedure, and in literally three minutes, the fire was out.
They opened up the car with special breaking tools and gave the poor owner the keys and his wife’s soaked handbag.
The crowd began to disperse, and I realised it was all over. The fire crew started rolling up their hoses, and changing out of their protective gear.
One of the fire crew noticed my boys watching, so let my boys sit inside the fire engine, and I got chatting to the fire guy.
He told me that his crew put out a car fire about once every two weeks – and he said it as though putting out a car on fire was no big deal.
And I suppose if you are trained to risk your life going into multi-story buildings that are on fire, and carry unconscious people out on your back, then a simple car fire in a suburban street probably is no big deal.
I thanked the fire guy a lot. I was trying not to say “You’re such a HERO!” and then faint into his arms, but I honestly had never needed an emergency service before, and I was so glad they arrived so quickly, and that they were so professional. The car was parked under a tree, and the tree also covers the house next to mine, so it could easily have been a house fire (or two) if left for a few more minutes.
And do my boys now want to be firemen when they grow up?
Because they have seen inside the fire engine, and it was cool – but there were no guns!