I was riding around in a car with someone when we heard a siren. We followed the sound of the siren a short distance until the person with me said he saw some firemen. We stopped and my companion said he saw one of the fireman fall. I saw a ladder leaning against a house. A fireman had been climbing the ladder and had fallen through it. He was now hanging on to one of the rungs on the underside of the ladder.
Suddenly he simply dropped to the ground. The whole scene seemed rather comical to me. It didn't appear the house was even on fire.
We drove on around the corner and discovered a large duplex, two story house which indeed was on fire. One room in the house was burning quite fast.
We pulled up and I got out of the car. At first I didn't think anyone was in danger, but then I walked around the house and realized many people were still inside the house. They were climbing out the windows. Many other people were standing very close to the house.
I walked up to a window and reached my hand to someone to help him out. I thought there was going to be time for everyone to escape without injury.
I heard one man screaming, "Cathy! Cathy! Where are you? Cathy! Cathy!"
I couldn't see him but heard him screaming the same thing over and over. Apparently he had lost his girlfriend or wife in the section of the house where the fire was burning the hottest.
One fireman screamed that everyone needed to get out immediately because the house could fall down. Suddenly I saw part of the house collapsing. I jumped back and watched as the burning house fell on the people still trapped inside. I was thunder-struck that the people inside hadn't been able to escape. I saw the house fall on top of two women. After the initial collapse one of the women was still alive, but then more of the building fell on her and buried her.
Next the section of the house where the man had been hollering caved in and the hollering ceased. Many of the other people standing in front of the house likewise couldn't believe what had happened.
I saw one small girl who had escaped from the house and was now sitting in the yard in front of the house. Some other people were standing between the girl and the house. Suddenly the house collapsed over on top of those people. The metal roof collapsed onto some more people and then curled up with the people inside.
The little girl was sitting slightly beyond where the roof had collapsed. She stood up and backed up. Smoke was all around her but it appeared she was going to escape unharmed.
The fire was becoming very hot. I stood in horror. I wondered if I had somehow been responsible for the fire because I had simply been here. I thought, "Well it would have happened even if I hadn't of been here. Just my seeing it didn't make it happen."
I really didn't know what I could have done to have helped prevent the conflagration. Yet I still felt quasi-responsible. Finally I walked away.
Later after the fire had burnt out, I came back. All that was left was black debris. I thought that dozens of bodies must be buried in the ruble and that I even saw one body amidst the black ashes.
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