Up in smoke

Friday, March 21st 2008, 9:18 pm
By: News 9

The one thing I love most about my job is the reality checks I'm served on a daily basis.

Earlier this week I was stressing over some problems with my car.  The transmission started slipping on my car that has less than 75,000 miles and it was getting worse each day.  I took the vehicle into the shop and was told the repair bill was going to be around $1500. 

I don't have $1500 to throw at a car that has little trade-in value so immediately I start looking for a new vehicle, looking at my options, talking to banks for loans and ... well... you know the headaches that can go along with the purchase of a new car.  To make things worse, I needed one quick!

It stressed me out and I was having a bad week until Thursday afternoon at 5:30-ish p.m
Photojournalist Bo Turner and I were dispatched to an apartment fire in Mustang.   We could see the smoke from I-40 and when we arrived on the scene of this monster blaze we realized this wasn't just a little apartment fire that would damage 2 or 3 units. 

No, this was a large fire that was out-of-control and when I walked up to the courtyard I looked around and noticed dozens of people standing there, staring into the fire as if it had hypnotized them and the rest of the world was at a stand-still.
Some people looked on in amazement at the size of the fire.  Others had the look of fear and heartache in their tear-filled eyes.  It was almost like they didn't know what to say or do.  Can you blame ‘em?  They were watching their lives go up in flames.  

Thankfully, nobody was hurt.  However, that only is a small slice of comfort for the folks who have lost all their clothes, pictures, furniture, dishes, paper work, and countless other memory triggers.  

It's heartbreaking to watch this happen.  I just kept thinking to myself at 5:00 these people were living their lives just like the rest of us.   15 minutes later... POOF... their world is upside down and the place that was once home-sweet-home is now a pile of ash and rubble that will be bulldozed away in the coming weeks.

I thought of that all night and when I got back to the station around midnight I realized I needed a ride back home because my car was still in the shop.   Yup, in Rusty's world THAT car was my biggest problem, and after seeing what happened to those folks in Mustang, I thanked God.

Email me at:    Rusty Surette