I like sleep just as much as the next man, in fact I probably like it more than him – I’m not greedy though – I get up on time, rarely use the snooze button – but this morning took the biscuit.
I have a vague (very vague) recollection of hearing a bang in my sleep, it did register (the fact that I considered it might be a gunshot also registered, but didn’t motivate me to do anything about it!).
The next thing I heard was “THUD – THUD – THUD”, I looked at Emma and asked whether that was our front door. She jumped out of bed and to the window (a bit energetic at stupid o’clock for my liking to be honest!), to find a woman shouting about a car on fire.
Before I know it we’ve bumped into each other (one of those madcap three-stooges moment I think!), and we’re both at the back window. It’s not our cars, but our neighbours – less than 2 metres from ours and it is WELL and TRULY alight.
We rush outside with car keys in hands, I’ve managed to find trainers and a T-Shirt, Em’s succeeded with the dressing gown (thank goodness) – but no footwear.
Now you see I always get in trouble for reversing my car at high speed through the courtyard, but I do it early in the morning when nobody is around. Emma on the other hand does it exactly when we’re expect a big red fire engine to enter at high speed!
After popping the cars on the road, I run round to our other neighbours – who’s car is closer than ours (twisted garage arrangement – don’t ask!) – to hammer on the door. He eventually appears and comes out to move his car, just as the fire service arrive and block him in! He moves his car to our spaces (it’s an extra 2 feet away from this burning Audi!).
It’s only then I really take stock of the amount of people around and how much damage this fire is actually causing!
The car owners’ front door is seriously blistering, at least it’s a fire door I guess – however they haven’t even got up! I have a word with the one of the firewomen (would you believe windows spell checker doesn’t mind firemen but does mind firewomen!) and let them know that they are inside.
Photo by Me!
By this time we’ve all had enough of the smoke and migrate back inside, I doubt very much we’ll get any sleep now so I stick the kettle on – while Emma watches proceedings outside.
Eventually the couple surface, as the firepeople (it doesn’t like that one either) methodically work their way through the flats checking everyone is ok. The stumbling block appears to be the ground floor flat next to the car, that they are struggling to break into (and in my mind they’re experts at this sort of stuff!) – but we know to be empty. Emma lets them know but they need to continue just to be sure.
Eventually I hear the fire engine moving, but it’s only to let our neighbour out so he can go to work.
In the cold light of day it’s easy to see how much damage was actually done, a recovery vehicle has been out twice – and taken their other car away – I can’t see this one going anywhere soon?!
Photo by Me!
How terrifying! What in the world caused it?
Where I’m from (NYC), my thoughts would immediately turn to the Big “T” (I can’t even bring myself to write the word). Hope it was something more benign in this case.
We’re still not sure – and to be fair the owners haven’t said anything to anybody that they got up at 5am for their little light display…
Hopefully we’ll be moving house soon – it’s not a rough area at all which is why this all came as a bit of a shock I think!