Friday, March 6, 2009

18 and 40 - Holy smokes!

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I wasn't feeling well this afternoon (breathed in too many bleach fumes, but that's a story for another day - come back tomorrow for that one, and believe me, you can't possibly guess what it's about) so I headed upstairs to lie down for a while.
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When I glanced out my bedroom window I was surprised to see a plume of dark gray smoke coming up from what looked like an office building in the nearby industrial zone.
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I figured that with smoke that obvious someone had already called the fire department, but I went ahead and dialled anyway just in case. (Actually, I first called Magen David Adom - our "Red Star of David" ambulance and paramedic service - because I misdialled, but they gave me the correct number for the fire department.)
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When the fire dispatch answered I could hear an absolute madhouse in the background - lots of people talking, yelling and calling out all at once. After waiting on the line for at least a full minute listening to them the operator finally came on and barked out "only if it's urgent!" I quickly asked if they knew about the dark smoke in [name of town], she barked back yes and hung up. Yikes. They sounded awfully busy...
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My civic duty for the day done, I went to bed.
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About an hour later I heard my husband telling my son to go upstairs and tell me there's a fire and to close the windows (he'd been out and didn't realize I'd been sleeping). I mumbled back that I knew about it and had already called the fire department, but the way the two of them were carrying on about the fire seemed a bit over the top for what I'd seen, so I stumbled over to the window for another look, and saw this:
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Holy smokes, can you see those flames shooting up there?!? That wasn't what I'd seen earlier, no wonder Jay was so insistent on closing all the windows.

And all those sirens I'd heard while I was drifting in and out of sleep? They were attached to eighteen, yes EIGHTEEN, fire trucks bringing in over FORTY firefighters, not to mention the hazmat team, the police and teams of paramedics!

We originally thought our neighborhood gas station had gone up in flames but it turns out it was a chemical plant in the nearby industrial zone, and there was a serious concern that all those billowing clouds of thick black smoke were toxic. (Side note: I never even knew that there was a chemical plant in there, despite driving by it every time I go to the grocery store. It's in the midst of a bunch of hi-tech buildings too. I can't imagine how some city planner could possibly have thought that having a chemical plant that close to a residential neighborhood was a good idea. Thankfully upon testing the smoke was found to be non-toxic.) We live safely well out of range (zoomed way in to get these shots) but the fire department evacuated everyone who lived within 100 meters (100 yards) of the facility for fear that the fire would spread. Luckily they were able to contain the flames and it was finally extinguished a few hours later. More luckily no one was hurt, although I'm guessing there was substantial property damage.

And all this was in addition to the household excitement we'd had a few hours earlier...

Visit Skywatch Friday for photos of what are hopefully much clearer, bluer skies than mine.

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28 comments:

SandyCarlson said...

That is one big fire! Wow. Good thing you called!

Carver said...

Gosh that's terrible. I'm glad no one was hurt. The smoke is astounding.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

That smoke looks awful! Glad no one was hurt!

Louise said...

Excellent shots. That's a scary fire. Very lucky no one was hurt.

Phyllis Sommer said...

that is so scary! much scarier than the fire behind my house a few weeks ago, at least that didn't have any toxic potential...oy vey.

glad everyone is okay.

ramblingwoods.com said...

Darn..my long comment went...grrr.. I'm glad that you are OK....

Deb said...

That smoke looks terrible, great photo though

Tim and Vicky said...

Glad you were safely out of range. Can't wait to hear the beach story.

Nalini Prasanna said...

Happy to know that you are fine!! That looks very scary.

Carletta said...

There may be skies clearer and bluer than yours Robin but these are awesome shots!
I wonder how many others knew or didn't know there was a chemical plant there.
I agree - not the smartest place to put one.

Indrani said...

Well, the post had me hooked till the last line. Unfortunate the incident and some shots for memory.

Jennifer said...

Wow, a real inferno. I'm glad it wasn't as close to you as the shots make it appear.

Mojo said...

Uh... yeah. What they said! Glad you were far enough away to not be affected by it at least because... damn!

Can't wait to hear about the "household excitement" (which I assume has something to do with the bleach fumes).

Tammie Lee said...

Great images of a terrible event. I do hope everyone is ok. Smoke, even when non-toxic is not too good for us. Wow, so dramatic those black billowing clouds!

Dina said...

Such black smoke, wow. Now that the fire is over you can get ready for our predicted dust storms.
Nice to learn approximately where you live; not so far at all. :)
Shabbat shalom to you all.

bermudabluez said...

WOW! That is one huge, black smoke fire!! So glad to hear that everyone is ok and no one was hurt!! I hope you are feeling better.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Oh my goodness.How awful! I'm glad to hear the fumes turned out to be non-toxic, though I'd be suspicious of ANY smokey air.

Maribeth said...

Oh my goodness! I would have been worried. I have a real fear of fires.

Light and Voices said...

OMG....that certainly was some black smoke. I am glad you were at a safe distance away.
Joyce

napaboaniya said...

(@@) That's a huge fire!!
Unique take on Skywatch I must say :)

Kelley said...

they are some freaky scary looking clouds of smoke there.

Seriously. Glad you weren't too close.

Leora said...

And you submitted this to Sky Watch!

Between this and the bleach on the next post, I hope you find some fresh air to clean out your lungs. Woof! blech.

Great pics, at any rate.

soulbrush said...

oh my goodness, hope they aren't toxic. excellent shots.

Baila said...

Wow. Scary.

Scribbit said...

Holy cow that's impressive--very scary!

Neas Nuttiness said...

How scary - that's one heck of a lot of smoke. It's a miracle that you could breath at all.
Glad that they got the fire out, and that no one was hurt.

Janet said...

DAMN! Between that and the sink, I'm glad you're ok!

Jientje said...

That wouls scare the hell out of me!