A Tale of Two Fires, Part 1
It was a cool, sunny day in north Texas. With a slow soughing breeze cutting between the large, Austin stoned houses, and the buzz of lawn mowers and weed eaters in the neighborhood, it seemed to be a typical Saturday morning.
The brakes of their grey, Ford F-150 trailering their equipment softly whined as their rotors and pads came closer. Laughing about an odd joke or a driving mistake, the two Fence Painters climbed out of the truck, verbally wondering why they were painting a garage on that day. After, all, they painted fences. But, as one pointed out to the other, the hourly rate of their income didn't change, so they might as well make the most of it.
Watching from across the street, a middle aged neighbor and his daughter walked Wendy, their golden lab and laughingly discussed the recent Texas weather that continued to be unpredictable. Turning the corner heading back to their house, as well as some much needed water and snacks, they waved at the two young men who seemed to be looking at a garage as if.... well, as if it were a fence.
As the minutes paced along, it seemed like this day was going to turn out just fine.
Across town, a very different scene was unfolding.
With workers yelling about a busted fire hydrant that was geysering water towards the heavens as if the atmosphere needed watering, the neighborhood was in total disarray.
The cherry picker trucks that carried the Electric company workers and their equipment couldn't get close enough to the transformers to properly service them. Brainstorming loudly between the noise of the water companies contingent looks and jack-hammers, the men determined to resolve this issue.
On the same side of the street, three houses down the Water Company was stumped. There was no reason for this busted main, much less for the fire hydrant to be pumping water into the air. The main concern here was the water affecting the neighborhoods electricity. That, and some of the men wanted to be home, not working on someone else's mistake. After all, it seemed obvious someone had been tampering with this hydrant...
"Do you smell that?" looking up from the half painted garage, the brown shirted fence painter removed an earbud and repeated his question. "No, what are you... wait. Nope, yeup, for sure". This answer did nothing to help clarify what his nose was sensing, but before they had a chance to discuss the semantics of using "yeup" and "nope" back to back, the two guys saw something coming from the house across the street that would change the lives of a family, the day of those two guys, and the neighborhood altogether.
"Is this old house a gas or electric?" The hard hat of the burly electric worker was removed by his hand, as he ran his fingers through his thinning yet still brown hair. Going to find out seemed easy enough, as the previous company hadn't documented the seemingly differences in construction that seemed to be in this particular neighborhood. Nonchalantly, his coworker finished his cigarette and flicked it around the corner of the house, where it landed, still lit, in a trash heap leaning against some old, wooden flashing.
To be continued...