The Fire

So I took a few pictures of that fire a few weeks ago and am finally getting around to posting them. Enjoy!

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Here's the fire about an hour after it started. I was at work and saw this when a co-worker took a cigarette break. I ran and got my handy-dandy camera while she made sure to dispose of her used cigarette in a safe, non-fire-starting manner.

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Here's the fire about five hours later. It looked under control and not a big deal at all, so I wasn't worried.

With the fire looking pretty contained and safe, I drove home from work. I stopped at Staples on my way home to buy some photo paper. Apparently, during the fifteen minutes I spent inside there trying to choose between regular photo paper (useful for school projects) and premium glossy paper (best for family photos, treasured memories), the wind changed and the sun set. There was a huge inferno waiting for me when I left Staples. People were casually walking around the city like the world didn't look like it was about to end as I raced home, ran up to the roof of my apartment where a crowd had already accumulated, and took some pictures.

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What was the most amazing/scary thing was how quickly this fire spread. In less than an hour, it went from nothing to this.

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Here's a closer shot using my zoom lens. I had assumed that the houses you see there were not much longer for this world.

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This picture is blurry because I AM RUNNING AWAY.

I spent the night at Gwen's. When I woke up in the morning, I assumed I'd see a big fiery pit where my apartment used to be, but no! The firefighters had managed to contain it overnight, saving all the residential homes, historical buildings, and zoo. Which is amazing to me.

People had very different ways of showing their gratitude for the firefighters' hard work. On my way to Gwen's around midnight, I stopped at a gas station to fill up. The pump decided it hated me and wouldn't take my credit card, so I had to pay inside. There, I was privy to a heated discussion between a firefighter and the gas station attendant. Appartently, the firefighter had to use the bathroom. Like, he really had to go. He was covered head-to-toe in soot and had probably been working his ass off to save things like that very gas station for the last twelve hours, and yet, the attendant wouldn't let him use the bathroom.

Fireman: Please let me use the bathroom. Give me the key.
Gas Station Attendant: No, bathroom is cleaning now.
F: That's okay, I don't mind if it's dirty. Please.
G: Bathroom cleaning!
F: Are you serious? Let me use the bathroom.
G: Can't, bathroom is cleaning now.
F: If you don't give me the key to the bathroom, I am going to go back in my truck and grab (here he listed a bunch of tools but I don't remember them exactly. I think it was along the lines of the jaws of life and a chainsaw) and break the bathroom door down.
G: Cleaning.
F: Oh my fucking god.
G: Is cleaning. No use.
F: Fine, I'll get in myself.

And then he stormed away. I think he ended up asking whoever was cleaning the bathroom if he could use it and that guy said yes. Which was a little bit disappointing, because I kind of wanted to see the fireman either break the door down, or go back into the gas station and go to the bathroom on the attendant's counter. While the fireman wasn't being the nicest guy at the time, I'll let that go because he was exhausted and had probably been holding whatever he really, really needed to expel for a long time. And the gas station guy was a dick. Worst of all, I now have to use a different gas station because I don't feel comfortable supporting a business that won't let firemen use their bathrooms because of is cleaning now. And that gas station was like the cheapest one in my neighborhood. See? We all lost something that night. Also, one of my contact lenses didn't survive the move from my apartment to Gwen's. So that's two things I lost from that fire. But I will bravely soldier on.

I'm especially pleased that one of my favorite places in Griffith Park, the Berlin Forest, survived the fire. Evil Ex-Roommate and I happened upon it once when we first moved out here, and I remember how happy we were be in a place with the same name as our hometown. My other favorite place in Griffith Park, the Bird Sanctuary, didn't fare as well.

Incidentally, for anyone who lives in the area and wants to get their gas from a place that lets firefighters use their bathrooms regardless of is cleaning, DO NOT PATRONIZE THE SHELL STATION ON THE CORNER OF HOLLYWOOD AND VERMONT. MORE SPECIFICALLY, THE SHELL GAS STATION AT 1630 N. VERMONT AVE. THEY HATE FIREFIGHTERS.