Readers might vaguely recall of a tale I told in the summer of 2011 when I heard a scanner call of a wildfire at our address. I drove home that day with both the purpose of covering it and to see if I might be homeless. What readers don’t know is that five years ago was not the first time it’s happened.
From the time I moved to Ada to the day I got married, I lived in a small apartment in downtown Ada, Oklahoma. It suited my needs, and I particularly liked that I was within walking distance of a grocery store, my bank, the sub shop, a video rental story, and my office. Rent was very low, my landlord liked me, and I became friends with many of my neighbors, none of whom lived there for as long as I did, 16 years.
Many of the people who lived there were college students, since it was close to the University and affordable. I am friends with some of those people on Facebook to this day.
At about 11:55 a.m. on September 2, 1995, I was standing in the newsroom preparing to go home for lunch when I heard fire dispatch on the scanner say, “Apartment fire, 506 east 12th Street.” Hmm. My address. Oh, sh!t! That’s my address!
I drove home as calmly as I could; I’ve always been able to keep fairly calm in crisis situations. Fortunately, that drive is less than two minutes, and I arrived just as the fire department did, to see thick grey smoke belching from the building across the breezeway from my own. Whew.
It turned out that one of my neighbors, a friend, had left a stove burner on and left for work, a mistake any of us could make. Ada Fire got it suppressed quickly, and no one was hurt. Our landlord, SON Properties, repaired the damage within a couple of months, and everyone moved back in.