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My garage burns down (56k)

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As mentioned both in the New/Returning thread and in the title of this topic, my garage burned down yesterday. Don't know how -- all the stuff in there that would have been a likely cause was unplugged, and arson's pretty doubtful. At least I got some pretty awesome pictures out of the whole deal.

Sometime around noon-30, the power went out. Since this had already happened briefly at 2 AM, 4 AM, and 6 AM, we didn't think much of it. My mom went to get some candles or flashlights or something and my dad contemplated going out to the garage to get the generator, if the blackout lasted long enough. I was upstairs in my room, reading, with the curtains closed, as always. Out of the corner of her eye, my mom saw something outside. It took a while for it to sink in -- at first she thought it was a reflection of something. A split-second later, when she realized what it was, she sent my brother upstairs to bang on my door and tell me. I opened my curtain and saw this:

I quickly put on a shirt, some day-old socks (couldn't find any clean ones that weren't ankle socks), shoes, hoodie, and threw my DS into my pocket (I was already wearing pants), and we all went outside. After about ten minutes or so (during which I assume one or more of us called 911, as did the guy across the street), we decided it probably wasn't going to be spreading to the house any time soon, and went inside to get our cameras. On the way back from my room to our designated standing spot, I got these:

Orange glow through a stained-glass window

Already engulfed by 12:46

A faster shutter speed makes things more ominous

Even the birdhouse is on fire

Got back to the designated standing spot and stayed there for most of the ordeal. As you can see in some of these shots, I'm pretty far away, and the heat is still very palpable. I'm talking it's-thirty-degrees-out-here-and-yet-I-didn't-really-need-to-grab-this-coat kind of heat. I never realized before just how unrealistic video games where you're okay as long as you don't touch the lava really are. And yet even now there's snow on the ground less than a foot from where the walls were. Weird.

Lots of smoke

Gives you an idea of how far we were.

The front wall starts caving in, and then kinda stops

Throughout the whole thing, we occasionally hear some loud pops. Since we had multiple receptacles with types of -olines in them, including two cars, the source of those explosions isn't too big of a mystery. (As shown on Mythbusters, cars are much harder to impressively blow up than popular media would have us believe) By this time, though, the pops were dying down. If it was a bag of popcorn, now would be the time when you're supposed to stop the microwave and take it out. Except, of course, the microwave's on fire, so you can't really do that.

Firefighters start to appear!

But is it too late?

Yeah, probably.

Firefighters started to show up around 12:50. When I was in eighth grade, our school had a fire drill of sorts -- except the teachers didn't know about it. Actually, the ninth graders were burning some potato chips in the kitchen and some of the smoke somehow found its way up to the smoke detector. All eighty or so students who attended this K-9 school (they added another high school grade each year) trudged outside. I remember it was raining because the girls in white shirts weren't very happy about having to go outside. Some people got a blanket out of someone's car and stood under it. Eventually, both of the county's fire trucks came down, until one firefighter finally went inside and saw that there was nothing going on. And the rest of the day was normal. But anyway, all that to say that we eventually got three fire engines and a handful of pickup trucks, officially making us more important than a school/church (where there wasn't actually a fire anyway).

The first of many

We live in Palenville, incidentally

They don't waste much time: by 12:52, they're already spraying...

...And after about a minute, there's more smoke than flame

The basketball hoop survived. The other accoutrements in that area weren't so lucky.

Their job had only just begun, however. A two car garage is a pretty big piece of real estate, and this one, fully stocked with cars, has also got a tool shed and an exercise room on the side. Oh, and did I mention the enormous pile of firewood? Yeah, that could be a problem.

A whole lot of smoke

By this time, the birdhouse is a lost cause

Five minutes later, two more firetrucks have just arrived

And some more backup after another five minutes (or at least that's when I noticed them)

Smoke looks really cool sometimes

Lots and lots of smoke

ProTip: Emerging from smoke instantly makes you look 30% more heroic

The wind changes, and the smoke blows our way, filling the air

House on left, charred remains of garage on right

Lots of firefighters

Thought this was a pretty poignant-ish shot

The fire's out, but there's still time for a chainsaw

What's left of the cars

One takes pictures of the car for his Myspace while the other, in a prankish mood, fills the gas tank with sugar water

Looks kind of like the Delorean did after it time-traveled, except that you could do more than once


Finishing touches

This giant dead tree doesn't have any bark, but it sure looks like it does now

Missed a spot

Once the fire was out, we were surprised to discover that it was really freaking cold. The water that had been sprayed on the firewood was already frozen after less than an hour

Packing up

It took a lot of water

We start calling generator stores, car rental places, and the lamp oil, rope, bombs guy

No one was hurt, the house was untouched other than losing electricity for a few hours until we got a generator hooked up, and although we lost both cars (we always buy used cars, so it's not that big a deal), our van is still okay -- we had driven it down to the mechanic that very morning for a routine inspection, and the place is close enough that walking there was no problem. Also, it's probably good that both cars were inside, or else the fire might have been more spread out. Plus we had just gotten wind-up flashlights for Christmas. And we had been wanting to get rid of the thing anyway. Would have been nice if it hadn't taken all our tools and trashcans and our brand new, month-old, never-been-used generator and a library book with it, but oh well. Overall, it almost looks like we planned the whole thing. Or God.

Click any one of the pictures to be taken to the full 113-picture album, if you dare.

Whoa, man, that's... bad. My comp's not up to the challenge of looking at all those pics, but it's good to know everybody's okay and the house is reasonably unscathed. Here's hoping the, um, area has a speedy recovery!

Lizard Dude:

That was an epic post, full of interestingness, wit, and detail.

My favorite part was when the girls with white shirts had to go outside in the rain.

Bummer, man!  But, it could have been worse... You can replace everything but a human life, and all that stuff.

Oh, CrossEyed7 and his crazy get-rich-quick schemes.


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