Saturday, June 25, 2005

Like a Japanese zombie movie

Around three-fifteen this afternoon I was sitting in my livingroom folding laundry when I heard my front window rattle. I turned around to see if one of the cats was on the sill trying to catch a bug or something, which is usually the only reason my front window ever rattles. No cat. I went back to folding. About ten seconds later, the window rattled again. And again. And again. Just a little tremor, nothing that made me think the glass would shatter or anything like that. I thought maybe someone was upstairs. My father-in-law comes and goes quite a bit, but I didn't see his car outside. I got up to investigate when the window rattled again. Then the phone rang. It was Toni. She said "Go out on your front porch and tell me if you can see the huge cloud of black smoke just to your north." She was at the bank up the street. I opened the front door to see the sky just north of my house quickly turning very dark gray. I switched on the T.V. There were aerial shots of a building at Chouteau and Hickory, which is about 3/4 mile from my house. Enormous fireballs (later the news stated they were fifty feet tall) were shooting up into the air every few seconds. It looked like the scene in Wild Zero when the fireballs shoot out of the abandoned buildings, just before Guitar Wolf cuts the alien spaceship in half with his guitar-sword. About two seconds after I would see an explosion on television, my window would rattle. I was horrified.
It seems that Praxair, a company that compresses liquids and gasses for medical and industrial use, has a warehouse over on Hickory. I haven't learned how the fire started, but everything burned for four hours before the firefighters could get close enough to put it out. All the employees were safely evacuated, a few firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries, most of the damage outside of the warehouse area was slight. Several other downtown businesses were evacuated as well. I'm really glad no one was seriously hurt. I heard on the radio as I drove to work that debris from the exploded propane tanks was flying as far as five blocks away. There isn't any information about toxicity levels as of yet (i've read that some of the chemicals Praxair handles are hazardous) and I'm kinda worried. About my tomatoes.
I guess that makes me a bit crazy.


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