November 21, 2009

Burning Down the House

Today a house in my neighborhood was used as a live test for local fire crews. It is not often (as in never) that you know when a house is going to burn, and can enjoy the destruction in a guilt-free way.

The Highlands Fire District has been planing this since July and went to extraordinary measures to make this a useful and safe event (from road closures, asbestos removal, weakening the roof so it would cave in on itself, berming and other changes to the property to contain the fire, to removing feral cats and much more).

I was lucky enough to be on site with my camera and got the scoop about what was going on from Chief Pond.

Two things struck me about this: how fast the house went–once the fire was fully engaged it was down in less than half an hour; and I didn’t get closer than 40 yards, but the amount of heat it was putting off was tremendous.

Kudos to the crews and planning, it all went off without a hitch and we had quite the show.

Below are a few pictures of the event. I have also setup a full gallery with lots more images

View the full gallery


See other coverage here.

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Robert J. McCarter

Robert J. McCarter is the author of more than ten novels and over a hundred short stories...... learn more

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  1. Impressive spectacle, no question! This is something I wish all people could see, because I don’t think most people realize just how quickly flame can overtake a home, and become a killer. Folks literally have seconds to either douse the flame, or get out of the house. Left uncontrolled, fire will devour most wood-frame homes in an astoundingly small period of time.


    But I bet it was amazing to see.

    1. Brad,

      It was amazing. It had an illicit thrill to it – it’s not normally OK to enjoy watching that kind of destruction.

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