There’s nothing like a fire engine to wake me out of a sound sleep at 3 a.m. in the morning, especially when the siren stops right in front of one’s house. My window overlooks the street so I can’t escape the flashing lights. I get up & look out thinking what’s going on. I figure its the guy cross the street – he had a stoke a few years ago & the fire department came for that. I look out the window & fireman are coming up the walk to my house.

I get dressed & go down stairs. The front steps of my house are smouldering! The fireman tells me that there’s been a couple of fires set on the street. I get my partner out of his room. He comes down as the fireman deals with the smoulder. I think that because of the rain earlier the turf carpet on the steps was too wet to ignite. We check around the house, backyard, garage to make sure nothing else is smouldering.


We give ‘statements’ to a policeman (would you lie a cool drink officer?). The fires are contained & the trucks pull away by 4 a.m. I take some Vitamin B, good for stress & fall asleep. I’m wakened by a radio reporter in his car across the street phoning in his story – yes he was that loud. Seems they were set within 30 minutes, one of which gutted an SUV. I check on line later in the morning & at that time, there were 6 reported fires in our area.


During the morning CBC TV/Radio comes by to interview us. Do we feel violated? Do we feel safe? I get out for a little walk once the rain is done. Our mail deliverer has mail for us & tells us many of the houses have a 6 in their address – are we talking the plot of a CSI episode? I’m a writer so everything turns into story line.


Later City TV comes by for an interview. I get more of the events from them than I knew. Fires started on our street, moved east &  south – some in recycle bins – some with real damage but no injuries. So far seven reported incidents. Suspects on bicycles, but no security camera footage found, yet, of them. First call was made by someone on our street who noticed my smouldering steps so perhaps this was the first house targeted. City asks: Do we feel violated? Do we feel safe? Actually I feel deeply grateful to the neighbour who called. I’ll sleep well tonight, living in fear isn’t for me.


this is an old piece that seemed right for the occasion:

hard core porn

the fireman drags

a smouldering victim from

the raging inferno

a reporter arriving on the fire engine asks

how do you feel

how do you feel saving these lives

asking the people watching

how do you feel

how did it start

healing can’t begin

till you have been seen

on the morning news


media stalking

the shuddering shouldered parents

whose child has just dropped

ten stories to death

how do you feel

how did this happen

the world needs to know

tell us – you have to tell us

you can’t keep it to yourself

we have a right

freedom of the press

don’t hide behind your jacket

don’t shut the door on us

we’ll talk to your neighbours

you might as well give us the exclusive story

how deep is the wound

does it merit more than

sixty sexy seconds on the noon report


did you feel

shock disgust fear

what were you first thoughts

what are your thoughts now

I know we asked five minutes ago

isn’t that enough time

for you to feel completion


why aren’t there more cameras

why isn’t a reporter interviewing

the reporter who interviewed

the man who called the police

why didn’t he call the press first


how long have you been trapped under the car

how much blood have you lost

how does it feel to bleed to death

speak up

so our viewers can hear you

I’m sorry we seem to be losing contact

how does it feel to lose contact

with a interviewer

we have experts to fill you in

are last gasp comments

to be taken literally or merely

as the ravings of a dying mind

demanding to be left alone


here is footage of the actual event

watch and tell us how do you feel

as they suffocate

in that airless box car

without water or food for six days

the security camera caught it all

how does it make you feel

next we’ll talk to the makers of the camera

to the makers of the box car

what could have been done

to prevent this tragedy


how can healing begin

when you keep scratching at the wounded

picking for fresh sound bites

for the ten o’clock news


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

2 thoughts on “Fire

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