|7/23/15 inks, colored pencils|
Around 3 a.m. we were awakened by sirens from multiple fire engines and other emergency vehicles – and they were stopping disturbingly close to our home. The sirens seemed to go on for nearly an hour. The 6:30 a.m. TV news showed where they were busy: Three houses had caught fire only four blocks away from us!
|7/23/15 inks, watercolor, colored pencil|
After breakfast we walked up to Eighth Avenue Northeast and Northeast 86th Street to see the damage. Not much was left of the house where the fire originated; only a few blackened supporting beams remained, and I could see all the way through it to the scorched trees behind. Wisps of smoke still rose from the smoldering timbers. The two houses on either side were both badly damaged also. Directly across the street at the St. Catherine of Siena School (adjacent to the church of the same name), several windows had blown out from the heat, and shattered glass covered the sidewalk. Even the power lines nearest the houses were scorched. About a hundred firefighters worked overnight to put the fire out.
Very fortunately, no one was injured.
As I sketched, I overheard the growing crowd of neighbors chatting with the owners of the three houses. I was thinking that the destroyed middle house had still been under construction, and indeed, that was the case. The cause of the fire was yet unknown. I felt bad for the owners, standing on the sidewalk with the rest of us, looking exhausted and stunned.
Three fire engines were still at the scene draining water from their hoses. I didn’t see any TV reporters, but a TV camera van was still there, along with a photographer.