Normally I use this space here to talk about the comic, or games, or random other stuff. But today I have a more serious message.
Yesterday I walked out of my apartment to find that a two story building a few doors down from me had smoke billowing out of it. A young woman gravely looked out from the second floor window. Within moments, the downstairs was on fire, and a man ran out from the alleyway behind the building.
Normally I don’t yell at women to jump out of windows, but the situation called for it.
The other man, which I learned later was her brother, caught her when she jumped, and I dialed 911.
The dispatcher told me the firefighters would be on their way immediately, I thanked her and hung up.
Initially, I thought the girl was the only one in the house, but suddenly she started screaming that her father was still inside. My first inclination was to run toward the building, but entry was no longer possible; a little bit of smoke and fire turned to complete inferno in a manner of minutes.
The firefighters arrived and proceeded to execute the bravest, most professional display of heroism I’ve ever seen in person. Without even summing up the situation, those men plowed into the flames, and attempted to rescue the man inside.
Neighbors came out onto the sidewalk, offering coats to keep the brother and sister warm. Others gave words of comfort.
The firefighters eventually emerged with a body on a stretcher, administering CPR on the way into the ambulance.
Thank god, I thought. He was alive.
However, his good fortune ran out at the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
I’m a person who tries to find humor in every situation, but an event like this is something that even I wouldn’t dare make a joke about. What I can find, however, are positives: the compassion of the neighbors, the bravery of the firefighters, the knowledge that in a moment of crisis a community can come together to save lives. Yesterday witnessed a tragedy, but was also a testament to how strangers can work together.