When you fill out a homeowner’s insurance policy application in the States, often times you’ll be asked the question…How far away is the Fire Station from your house? I used to be able to answer that question with less than one mile. Now, if I had to answer that question, it would be more like 45 minutes. And that is just the time it should take to get from there to here. Read on and you’ll see that really means nothing.
I was working upstairs today when I started to smell smoke. At first, I just thought it was a neighbor having a BBQ. Yeah, it was early in the day for a BBQ but many people here are on vacation and start drinking in the morning so it’s not as uncommon as you might think. About an hour later, I could still smell the smoke and I started to hear a crackling sound. A sound that is really only created when fire is crackling against wood.
I put my laptop, cameras, phone, keys and sunglasses into my backpack and went outside where smoke seemed to be consuming the back side of the building. I knocked on my neighbor’s door but no one answered. However the door was just slightly open so I looked inside to find no people but one dog and one cat. Great, I thought…where’s Mona, the 6 month old feisty kitten. But fortunately, as I went down the stairs, Mona was running up and I quickly grabbed her and put her into the house. The building is made of concrete so I knew she’d be safer inside versus out playing amongst the burning embers.
The entire back side of the property where I live was burned or burning. My neighbors had already called the fire department and were using hoses, large water bottles and fire extinguishers to try to control the fire in a field of extremely dry brush.
We were all extremely disappointed in the Barcelo Hotel which is across from us and next to the burning field. No one from the hotel did anything. With the amount of staff and fire extinguishers that must be in the building (I think it has almost 200 rooms), it was really frustrating that they weren’t helping out the community. But I’ve also been told that they’ve done some pretty shady environmental practices, both when they were building and currently, so it doesn’t surprise me that they didn’t help out the local community when we needed it. Definitely not a potential client that I would ever work with or recommend to visiting friends.
And it was several hours later, after the fire had been put out by the community members, that the fire truck finally showed up and hosed down the building and some of the field that still had a few embers burning.
Last week while in San Juanillo, there were a lot of fires there as well. Pretty much the entire coastline of the Nicoya Peninsula had puffs of smoke billowing up to the sky. We desperately need more water. Last year’s winter was so dry and I’m sure there will be more fires to come as the winds continue and the already dry ground continues to lose moisture in the hot summer sun.
I’ve now lit a few candles, hoping to get the smell of smoke out of my house but it reeks pretty bad so I’m not sure how long it’s going to take before everything starts to smell fresh again.
View the slideshow of today’s events here…