The sound of fire engines has become so commonplace in Starkville, that I didn’t even notice that they sounded like they were in my back yard.
My neighbor, Chip Carley, became the victim of the third major fire in two weeks in my town (not including my minor flower bed that burned up on Good Friday). Two devastating apartment fires have left hundreds of renters homeless, and now Chip has another major renovation on his hands.
Chip is manager of the Holiday Inn Express and the son of my very good friend and mentor, Shirley Carley. He bought the vintage craftsman-style house two doors down from me several years ago and put some major dollars into the renovation.
Today, he was having his floors refinished and a very harsh chemical was applied. Apparently the hot water heater ignited the fumes, triggering a five alarm fire. Ironically the same thing happened to my friend Putt several years ago and her house literally exploded.
I was needing my floors refinished, but I’ve decided to let them continue to have the “lived in” look.
That’s John Montgomery on the left
Brenda and I watched the firemen bravely march into the burning home from her front porch. It was even more stressful since her son, John, was one of the fire-fighters. No mother should have to witness that. She held her breath as he climbed a ladder to the roof to extinguish the flames.
My entire block of South Montgomery was blocked for the entire afternoon as firemen maintained vigilance in case a “hot spot” should ignite. It appeared to neighbors and passersby that the fire was at my place – which didn’t seem much of a surprise to anyone who called. Marie even heard about it at her office and she rushed over but couldn’t get close because the streets were closed.
Brian Hawkins, my editor, got the word that my house was on fire and he came tearing over from the newspaper with his camera. He, too, was surprised I hadn’t caught my place on fire.
Listen, I will never burn a candle again or cook any meth in my kitchen. You can count on that.