I was on my way to the grocery store late yesterday afternoon. As I turned out of my cul-de-sac onto the street that leads out of the subdivision I noticed smoke coming out of a neighbor's garage. It looked like they were grilling or something. These are the same people who chain their dog to the tree in front of their house even though their backyard is fenced and use their truck bed to shoot off fireworks so the idea that they are grilling deep in the garage is not a far-fetched notion.
As I got to the corner I noticed the smoke was black and heavy and swirling out of the open garage door. This was no charcoal grill! I threw the Escape into reverse and sped back towards the house. As I jumped out of the car I could see the red and orange tongues of flame in the front corner of the garage. I knew they had small kids so I ran to the door. I hit the doorbell repeatedly. All three kids ran to the door and stared at me through the glass panels next to the door. They ranged in age from about seven to three or four. None made an effort to open the door. I shouted that they should get their mom, the garage was on fire. She burst out he door a few seconds later.
The kids ran across the street crying in panic and hysteria. The mother tried to kick the flames, but the fire was three or four feet high by then, the garage was filled with thick black smoke. I asked her if she had a rake or shovel I could use to drag whatever was on fire out into the drive to spread it out. She just stared at me and ran out the side door of the garage. Of course opening that door caused a draft that fed the flames further. At this point the fire was about three feet in diameter and three or four feet high and the boxes and packaging that fueled the flames were burning fast and hot. You could not see the back of the garage for the smoke.
She dragged in a hose and started spraying the flames. After a minute or so the fire was a smoldering mass, but the danger of burning down the house seemed to have passed. I asked her if she had it under control. She again just stared at me and shouted to the kids that it was OK. Two came back up the drive. One curled into a hysterical crying ball. I suppose, without evidence, he was the one who set the fire. His reaction was far beyond fear.
I asked the woman again if she was OK now. Again she just looked at me. I shrugged and got back in my car and headed to the store. I would say that I wasn't really looking for a thank you, except that I was. If I had not driven by when I did the wall of the garage would have caught. A minute or two later and who knows?
When I came back from the grocery the garage door was closed. I would have thought they would want to air out the smoke odor.
I don't guess this qualifies me for the Boy's Life "True Scouts in Action" feature.