We had such an exciting evening last night! Fire trucks! Police officers! Drug dealers!
This story happens in a few parts, so I'll go through them in pieces, if that's okay.
It's illegal to turn left onto our street from Columbus between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. All us locals know this, so this is why the story, for us, is funny. The motorcycle cops tend to hide out on our street, and pick off the people who turn left to shortcut through the South End, and just line them up for tickets. This usually happens towards mid to late month, when their quota needs to be filled, and in this situation, they have been known to move through 30 tickets in an afternoon. After taking Oliver for his afternoon walk, we decided to sit out on our front steps and watch the people get nailed, and yes, laugh at them goodnaturedly.
A guy in a wheelchair comes tearing across Columbus to the cop, telling him to look up, look up, there's a fire. We didn't understand what was going on too much at this point, but once we started looking around, we realized that there were several people on the street, looking up at the top of a house just six doors down from ours. From the top, billowed smoke. Once we got up to look better, we saw flames. Shortly thereafter, and I mean shortly, the fire trucks began arriving. There ended up being eight fire trucks on our street, four with their ladders extended to the top of the buildings, and all with their hoses, axes, chain saws and the like ready to do battle. The fire though, was relatively minor, in that it only took the one house's terrace up top. The water damage, from what we heard, was quite severe though, since the fire was at the top of the building, and the water all had to rush down the four or five stories.
We spent at least an hour watching this all go down from the steps of a house across the street, as did many of the street's residents and passersby. I'm freaked that a fire along those rows of houses has the potential to take out an entire block, but I feel better knowing how fast the fire trucks arrive, and how many of them answer the call.
In the meantime, a drug trafficker that's ducked out on his bail is being pursued through the South End by the police. He's attempting to escape, and is fleeing down Tremont Street. He comes to an intersection and faces the dilemma: left or right? He, in a move that he will quickly regret, turns right ... directly onto my street, where eight fire trucks have taken up both sides of the driving lanes. He's trapped, with nowhere to go, and the police are behind him. He's arrested, and by the time the fire is out, the police tell us that he's already in booking, and that a drug dog is on its way to sniff through the guy's truck.
When the heavy-duty fire trucks with ladders go to stretch their ladders, they extend balance posts on each side of the truck, by about three feet. If there's nothing but space on one side, that's great. If, as there was last night, there happens to be a Subaru and a Volvo on one side ... well, they get kinda crushed in on the side, and one may get a tire popped from being pushed up onto the curb. The city would pay for it, but the fire department guys, and the policeman, both suggested that the owners just go with their own insurance company, since they'll probably get results faster.
Eventually, of course, all the fire trucks went back home, and all became quiet again on our little street. This morning, the only evidence of anything amiss was the tips of blackened wood peeking out from the top of the assaulted building, and floor rugs stretched out over the front steps drying.
Ah, city living.