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Firefighter's Words: Haunting Memories

Last night, I stayed up until 4 AM and then tonight as I started to log off at 4:32 AM I thought I could tell you what I remember although I can not tell you what year it was or where exactly on the street. But, it was my first memory of fire and has haunted me for all these years. I swear I can still hear the children screaming and the parents screaming at each other. The sounds of the fire hall blowing its siren, so many times to notify the volunteer fire fighters to respond to the fire, the sound of a lone fire truck coming to a mobile home, totally engulfed in flames.

Central Valley, CA possibly in the late 1960’s, I was eight years old and playing with my friends in the alley behind our house. We heard this loud bang and then saw smoke coming from one of our neighbors mobile home at the end of our alley, then we saw flames and heard the two small children inside screaming or crying for their parents.

Next, I believe we saw the mother cross the street coming from a grocery store and she was screaming for her children and her husband. We realized that the father is inside the mobile home with his children and the mother has thrown down her groceries and is trying to get the screen door open, but neighbors stop her as it is much too late.

The mother is crying in the street over and over for her children and her husband. Then her husband shows up and he is not singed or appearing smoky in any way. He gets hysterical as he thinks his wife is in the fire with the children.

Then the parents see each other and the real screaming begins. Each parent thought the other parent was inside fixing dinner for the children over the gas stove. It was very sad and horrible at the same time. The children perished.