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fire in Lexington

Driving home from Grandma's this evening Harvey and I noticed a peculiar cloud in the west. As we continued moving in that direction, it started to look like it was a fairly local phenomenon. You know, parallax effect and all that. "Hey," I said to the boy, "that looks like it might be a fire."

"Fire?" he said. "Fire."

The strange thing was that the smoke didn't seem to be moving—nor, as we continued driving, did it get any closer. But as the road twisted and turned and it became clear that the source of the cloud was somewhere in Lexington, I couldn't think what else it could be.

And indeed, about two miles from where we first noticed anything we passed the source of the smoke, off on a side street, and also a couple rescue vehicles heading that way. Since we weren't in any hurry to get home—Mama being otherwise occupied until dinnertime—we turned in to take a look.

I have to say, we weren't the only ones with that idea. A news photographer—of what degree of professionalism I don't know, but she had a big camera—pulled in right behind us, and the street was crowded with other onlookers. Also crowded with fire trucks. Five or six big ones near the action, and out by us a truck from Burlington apparently waiting its turn to go in there and fight. We also noticed a helicopter hovering overhead, which pleased Harvey: he said "helicopter big mouth!" for reasons that are not entirely clear to me.

What we didn't see was the fire itself. We respected the police cordon, mainly because I wanted to make sure I could move my car if it looked like it was going to be in the way of more rescue vehicles, but also because it was pretty clear that it was someone's house in some serious trouble, and I didn't want to gawp. I am a curious soul, true, and I can't pass a mysterious column of smoke without at the very least some desperate wondering about what's going on. But having found out, I didn't want to intrude.

Most of the time we manage not to think about things like house fires or car accidents or medical emergencies—well, I don't at any rate; Leah may have something else to say about that. I think that even she, though, would admit that despite her shall we say awareness of the possibility of disaster, they don't actually effect daily life. Seeing a house fire doesn't change that for me, but together with other recent events involving hospitalizations and desperate medical worries—for friends, we're all roughly healthy—I'm feeling a little more vulnerable these days than usual. Vulnerable, and also thankful for all the blessings of this life. It's not that other people's tragedy makes me feel better about myself; not at all. I'm just more aware of God's provision for us now in our good fortune and of the assurance of provision when times are harder. Not that we want to test that. Let's keep that unemployment money coming!


Via mass email from our church in Lexington, this note:


A wonderful, generous, very involved Lexington family with two first grade boys had a house fire last night that destroyed the house they were living in and all of their possessions. They did not even have shoes on as they ran from the house and lost wallets, cell phones, car keys, a home office with their start-up business—absolutely EVERYTHING. They are all safe, but in great need. I will send a follow-up e-mail when I know their clothing sizes, but the greatest need is for a place to live! If you have a furnished house that is currently sitting empty, if you are out of town and would be willing to have them use your house while you are gone, if you have a house about to go on the market or just coming up for rental, they need a temporary place to live. The boys go to Hastings Elementary, but they could live anywhere and drive the boys.


If you're local and can help, leave a note in the comments or drop us an email and I'll let you know who to contact.

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