Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Normally, I am happy to talk about the ridiculous or action packed movies that take us away from the normal daily routines.

In fact, I had planned to watch I, Tonya Saturday night so I could write about it. I was looking forward to the downtime after driving my sons to the various work or activity commitments, and helping my daughter get ready for prom.

Fire 180421But at some point on Saturday afternoon, something was not right. We could see smoke on the east end of town. Slowly it seemed fire trucks were coming, one by one sirens began screaming. The smoke smelled acrid like when plastic burns.

The apartment building next to the post office was aflame, even at the late point that I walked to the site. It was obvious that the building just to the south had been damaged by the fire although I could not tell just how much had been done. However, firemen were on the balcony of the south building sending a high-powered stream of water onto the last vestiges of flames on the very front of the north building. On the back of the building there were at least three other streams working to dampen the flames.

Fire 1804212As I looked into the building, I could see the roof was gone. It looked as if the second floor was giving way as well. I heard one firefighter say that the main fire was in the middle of the building and it would be several hours before it would all be out. The firemen’s effort would go on through the night as Momence Fire Department came with their light truck.

Looking at all of the trucks, you could see the names of the various communities that came to help our small town: Pembroke, Kankakee, Beecher, Sauk Village, Richton Park, Matteson. I assume there were others but I did not those trucks. Some were used to block off streets so that a snake of hoses could be used to bring more water to the scene. Eventually, water would be drawn from Cote Lake to combat the fire in the later stages.

Several families have lost their home and belongings. I heard that a fund is being started at the National Bank of St. Anne to help these families. Chris Sutherland sponsored a clothing and toiletries drive this past Monday.

What I didn’t take pictures of was the groups of people watching the fire, including a girl in her lovely peach-colored gown for prom. Her friends came in their party dresses to be their for their friend who is watching her home go up in flames. It was too intimate, too personal. It was enough that I was there seeing their pain; no one wants that broad-casted to the world. 

Fire 1804213All of us know that this could be us; a simple malfunction could take away everything. A friend of mine lost her mother when there was an unknown gas leak in their basement. The mother turned on her vacuum cleaner and the house blew up. It was accidental and not the fault of anyone. For my friend, the loss was great.

I know many people are feeling their loss. But I also believe it will get better. Help will come in all directions. That is best thing about a small town; when the unbelievable happens people rally around you.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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