The Fire I Didn’t Face

January 14, 2008

by — Posted in Personal Writing

This morning on my drive to work I passed by a house in a very small town that was ablaze. The flames were sprouting 2-3 feet of the window and people were just driving by. I thought briefly of stopping and seeing if I could help, the fire department had not yet arrived. If I would have stopped I would be late for work and hold the self righteous it is not effecting me directly view point of many Americans.

For a few moments I fought the feelings of wondering what i would do. Should I risk my life to try to run through a burning house to help people, possibly risking my own life and making my wife a widow? I would go out doing a good deed, but the house was so far gone on the main floor that I’m not sure I could have made it to the second story on my own. It may have just been a task of self sacrifice that may not do any good.

The house ironically was 2-3 doors down from being almost directly across the street from a fire station. Unfortunately it is a volunteer fire station that was currently unmanned. All of these thoughts and worries passed through my head as I drove a couple hundred feet passed the house. I was unsure what I should or could do to help. At this point a volunteer fireman came around the corner in a pickup with his lights blazing. For some reason at that moment it calmed me to think that help was only moments away.

I only don’t know to this moment if I should have stopped or should have tried to help. It’s a gnawing feeling in your stomach that just won’t seem to go away. What if I could have made a difference, what if I could have saved a life. What would have happened if I would have died. The answers to all of these things is that I don’t know.

I don’t know if I could have saved a life. If I would have known that I would have acted without hesitation. If I could have made a difference I would have acted without hesitation. If I would have died – now that’s an answer I would have preferred not knowing. It’s one of those flashes that happens in your life that gives you uncertainty and dread. Hopefully the next time I will be quicker or more decisive to act. My first trip through the flames though I can’t help but think I have failed.

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