By Braddah Lance
Last Friday shortly before 1pm, I saw a breaking news link posted online but the weird part about it was there wasn't an article attached to it.
The link was titled "Pearl City House Fire" - or something to that effect - but when I clicked on it, nothing showed. I had an eerie feeling so I checked again a few minutes later thinking it might be a server error but nada. I texted Da Wife and no answer. I called my grandmother's cell, no answer. I checked the link again and nothing.
Normally I don't think twice about articles like that even though it says "Pearl City" but this one for some reason left an uneasy feeling in my stomach.
I later get a text from Da Wife saying she left work early and found out that the house fire I was intent on finding out about was actually on our street just a few houses up!
A funny thing about the street you live on - especially around your home - you may not know the names of your neighbors but you certainly know their face and what kind of car(s) they drive.
While I didn't know the family living there personally, I only "knew" of the oldest kid - fo' realz, he couldn't be more than 20 - cause we always said "Wassup" as we drove by each oddah's home or if we were walking past. They have an old school red 4-runner, a gold Hyundai sedan and a recent Volkswagon... or is it an Audi.
As I headed home, I drove by and saw their house. It was totally gutted by the fire and while the structure still stood tall, everything they owned - both material and non - literally turned to ash.
My heart sank but it was nothing compared to the feelings they were going through. They were surrounded by fire officials, family, friends and a few neighbors with the distinct smell of burnt wood lingering strong.
As I took Da Dog out for a bathroom break, two of our closer neighbors were already outside so I asked what happened. They overheard - so don't quote me on it - the fire started from one of those chargers that overheated (WWD!) which then exploded some aerosal cans next to it and you can imagine how flammable everything became after.
I went back inside, gathered up as much clothes as I could get and walked over. Shorts, pants, t-shirts, polos, aloha shirts and a note with my name and number. I told them to call or text me should they need a place to shower or if they wanted a home-cooked meal (no pun intended) and to let me know if they needed anything all, don't hesitate to ask.
Da Dog had tagged along and there's something about animals that puts a smile on peoples faces even for a moment.
After talking with the father - he was so heartbroken - he put up a strong front and said, "we just gotta rebuild" and truthfully, that's all you can do. Then he petted Da Dog and meekly smiled. He also said/asked, "you da guy on da motorcycle yeah?"
So many things ran through my mind as I felt like crap for them but at the same time I was thanking God that it wasn't our home. Then I snapped back to reality and unplugged every single thing that wasn't plugged into a surge protector. And yes, my surge protectors are "current" (no pun intended) and I certainly do not overload them.
Now I ask all of you especially with older homes (wiring), please unplug any electrical devices you do not need and certainly try to remember to unplug the charging types once it's pau charging like your cell phones or laptops and double check your older - and newer - devices as well by seeing if they become hot to the touch if plugged in for a certain amount of time.
Surah it's in one ear, out da oddah and no one evah tinks twice about stuff li'dat especially considering da odds of it happening but let me tell you, if you seen their faces you would certainly not want to chance it.
It became a moment wea I was tinking of all da "stuff" we have and wat would happen if we lost it all in a blink of an eye. Surah, it can all be replaced eventually but da emotional trauma is something that will never be replaced. Thankfully no one was hurt but something is now missing from your soul as you see your home destroyed.