Fire Up the Street


The smell of smoke was in the air, so I stepped outside the house to have a quick look. I saw a large plume rising in the south and it appeared to be getting bigger.

I walked down the street a few steps in order to see if I could tell where it was coming from; it was the Wolcott’s home.

The moment I saw it, I raced to the Yurok Volunteer Fire Department at the end of the street, pushed the siren button, opened both station doors and wrote the fire’s location on the chalkboard. Then I raced on foot, up Azalea Drive towards the home I saw burning.

Without slowing down other than to check the door for heat, I stepped inside the smoke-filled house and called out for anyone who might be inside. At first there was no answer.

However I heard somebody coughing in the front room area. So I headed in that direction, crawling along the floor.

It was Hugh Wolcott, who had asthma and had been in attic trying to fight the fire. He was having difficulty breathing.

I helped him outside to the front lawn, where he told me his missus was still inside the house.

Back inside I went to see if I could locate Mrs. Wolcott. I called out for her, but there was no answer.

So I continued deeper into the house, towards the bed rooms. That’s where I found her.

She was standing in front of her dresser, putting on a blouse. She saw me standing in her doorway through the reflection of her mirror.

“You’re house is on fire,” I said, adding “I got Mr. Wolcott out and he’s waiting for you in the front yard.”

She turned and growled, “I know it’s on fire! Now get out of my house!”

By this time fire trucks were pulling up in front of the home, so without arguing, I went back out the front door. I decided to leave it to someone else to get her out of the house.

Fortunately, Debbie wasn’t home at the time and the house sustained more damage from the smoke than the flames. But it didn’t stop her from thanking me with a kiss on the cheek for having done what was needed.

As for Hugh Wolcott, he died in December of 1982

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