Folks have been building a pretty massive apartment complex across the street from me here in Denver over the last year. This is a shot I got in early morning sunlight a few weeks ago.
About midnight last night, someone was running through the halls of my complex shouting “FIRE!”
Well, that doesn’t happen very often. My eyes popped open to see a VERY intense yellow light out the east facing bedroom windows. Yes, there clearly was a fire. I ran out to my balcony (which also faces east…), and the color and sound of the fire was so intense it appeared to be my building that was on fire. Glowing cinders were dropping into the swimming pool. But the fire was out front (to the west), so I couldn’t really see the actual source.
Nevertheless, I scrambled around, getting dressed and thinking, OK, now…. what do you take? I couldn’t smell smoke yet, so I quickly packed up a laptop, a backup hard drive containing my photo libraries, some cash, one camera, and a few odds and ends and set them by the door. Then, before running out (maybe for the last time…), heart pounding like crazy, I decided to go out to the west facing stairwell, to see what I could see. It was only then that I saw the fire was actually across the street, and not in my building after all.
With the immediate danger of being in a burning building seemingly passed, I grabbed the camera and captured a few hundred frames of the firefighters putting out the last of the fire. If I had gone out to simply look when I was first awakened, I guess I would have seen flames several hundred feet high, that were reported visible from as much as 50 miles away.
This morning, still angry that I panicked and packed rather than shooting first, and asking questions later, I went out to survey the damage. Turns out, my building truly was in pretty critical danger. Cars in the parking lot were actually melted from the heat of flames nearly 75 yards away.
Windows were broken out, plastic blinds melted, and paint and woodwork on the side of the my building was charred from the heat. Now I’m really glad my apartment faces east! Thankfully the building that burned was unoccupied, and to my knowledge, no one was hurt as a result of the fire.