A few days ago marked the 6-month anniversary of this fire. As you can see the two upper apartments were completely lost, the fire began in the top right apartment. Ironically, or perhaps not so, this same apartment experienced a kitchen fire not even two months prior. The bottom two were beyond repair from smoke and water damage, and of course the loss of the floor/ceiling of the upper two.
If you haven't guessed already, this is the fire that occurred in the building directly across from mine; the photo was taken from my window within days after it happened. The families have all since been relocated to other apartments within the same complex. The manager of the complex had that taken care of within a week and she earned respect among the residents for that, as it wasn't an easy feat. In communities such as this, rumors fly and accusations run rampant. The fire was said to have been caused by fireworks (it happened overnight of July 4th), but the residents all have different stories as to what they saw and heard.
Over the course of the last few months we have seen inspectors come and go, curious onlookers, news media as well as fire department personnel and law enforcement. A fence has been erected around the perimeter to keep rubbish and loose chunks from falling onto the children playing nearby as well as an attempt to keep the too-curious from climbing up and snooping around. The trees that burned have been chopped down.
No lives were lost and materials can be repurchased, so what is the problem? The problem is that the building is still sitting here. Untouched. Talk is of leveling and rebuilding from the bottom up, but no trucks or dozers have come, no men in hard hats, no surveyors. Everyday we look out our windows to see the reminder of what can happen in the blink of an eye, which I am not saying is entirely a bad thing, but it does wear on one's psyche. The victims, all living nearby, must drive past this building during the course of living their daily lives. Therapeutic? I hardly think so. Our children are constantly reminded of tragedy and loss as they chase soccer balls and footballs around the courtyard. It is never far from our minds.
Perhaps this New year will bring much-needed change to our community. In more ways than one.