The Big Burn!!!
So there we were, cleaning up from pouring the piers for the Utility Shed. I went over to the burn barrel and stuck 20 empty bags of Sakrete in and lit them. I was tired. It was time to call it a day. We’d had excitement on the road all afternoon. Lady Gamble of the Doublewide had taken a bunch of trash over to the neighbor’s property and burned it. The fire jumped into some dried grass and 4 hours and 20 volunteer firefighters later the blaze had scortched several acres on both sides of Stump Road. I’d been too busy with the pour to see the details, but it had been spectacular whenever I looked up.
You’d have thought my brain would have said something like "Fire bad. Wait for rain." Nope. I lit the burn barrel and walked back to the house to return the kerosene. When I looked up, there was a nice fire going in the maple trees and surrounding grass. It was heading both downhill and up towards the curing shed. I beat on it a bit, but to no avail. Angie called 911 and soon the Brooksville VFD was there, wacking it out with help from Jim, the neighbor and several other folks. They’d all been up at the other fire, and had just drove down when they got the call.
When it was over, I got to confess my sins for the fire chief and the rest of the crew. He said nothing would be done, but I’d probably have to pay the forester to come by and assess the damage. I was fire 4 of 8 for that weekend. Only a ¼ acre had been torched, nobody else’s property had been involved. The fire had scorched a phone pole and gotten within 8 feet of the curing shed, but that was not a problem.
About 2 hours later, I was dragging my butt down to the barn to close up when a Chevy Suburban showed up with dark tinted windows. Out stepped the MIB. That’s right! Two guys wearing black suits and dark Ray-Bans. They saw me and headed my way. I always wondered what de-neuralizers felt like, but all I could ask myself was "Why? It was only an itty-bity fire."
One guy took off his Ray-Bans. It was Parker, the County Coroner, and owner of the only funeral parlor.
"Sorry, John. " I said. "It was just a small fire. No business for you today."
Come to find out, he had heard about the fire and he and an old neighbor-buddy from Stump Road had decided to come down sight-seeing. They were still dressed from a funeral.
Later, the forester came down. I confessed my sins again for him. He said it would cost me $38 for his time. We had a bit of a friendly culture clash as I attempted to pay him—I just being nice about the change, but I guess it could have looked like a bribe. Oh well, we finally agreed that he’d send me a bill, and I’d send in a check..
We got written up twice in the Brooksville paper for the fire. I had Ma put in a classified thanking everyone that came to help. Two weeks later, the grass had grown up and you couldn’t tell.
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