Waking Up to the News

I woke up to a neighbor knocking on my bedroom window really early this morning, which is never a great way to get out of bed. It got worse when I looked out the window and Brandon yelled: “fire!”

The fire wasn’t at my home, but had consumed two buildings on a property just behind where I live in Bremerton. My neighbors and I watched the huge orange glow rise and crackle from my backyard for a few minutes just before 1 a.m., worried that the blaze would catch on trees that separate the properties and come at us.

The flames didn’t head our way, thanks to the efforts of CKF&R and Bremerton Fire, though sadly a few of my neighbors were displaced from their home. Everyone escaped, but two homes are now destroyed and I feel for the folks who I’d see around the neighborhood. Most of my other neighbors were out rubber-necking in the middle of the night, and we’d take a minute to chat and share when we’d woken up or just shake our heads at the destruction. I even met a few folks who are new to the area, though it wasn’t the circumstance I had expected to do so.

After getting over the initial shock I managed to put on my journalist hat and do a little reporting/videography with Sun photographer Larry Steagall, who even beat me to the scene (Larry’s great like that). It was an odd feeling sitting there in my living room at 2:30 a.m. posting a web story, smelling smoke in the air and knowing that some flames were still being knocked down a few hundred feet away.

It was a first for me to be that close to having a news event become a personal event, and the nearest I’ve ever come to feeling threatened in my own home by fire. Knowing one of the residents who lost his home brought home to me again the personal side of this business. I don’t know when I’ll see John next, but I know I’m concerned about where he’ll go.

I walked over to Jacobson this morning in the rain to check the remains. The only person there was a fire marshal looking through debris, shockingly sparse even after the witnessing the sensational scene just a few hours earlier. The unique steady August rain and dawn on a dreary day would have been a surreal enough way to start a Tuesday. Don’t think I’ll forget this one for awhile.


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