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The Townhouse burned down in February. It had been my home for 14 years. Our crackhead neighbors left papers on the stove and went to sleep. I hope they took it as a sign to get off drugs; that's the only way anything good might come out of it. There was a concrete wall between their kitchen and my bedroom, so the fire went up over the roof and down the other side. It happened at 6am. I was three miles away at the time. My roommate Bernard saved several people's lives by kicking down doors and waking people up. All ten inhabitants in the building got out safely.
The Red Cross came with food and toiletries, arranged shelters for those who needed it, and gave us vouchers to replace our beds, and Target vouchers to get a basic set of clothes. I never thought the Red Cross came for small things like this. So if you donate to the Red Cross, yes they do good work.
It was interesting to see what burned and what didn't. My beds were toast. The TV and VCR melted. But paper held up surprisingly well. My books just got charred on the edges. Things in the wooden dresser or even cardboard boxes didn't get touched at all. My shirts got blackened in places and smelled like smoke. Some of the shirts I was able to salvage by washing them in cold water with vanilla, soap and Downy. My favorite pair of boots I was fortunately wearing. My other boots all needed a good cleaning with saddle soap and polish to get the gray cinders off and the smokey smell out.
One of my wrestling buds works for a property management company, so he was able to get me a good deal on a 1BR apartment in Ballard, five miles west, very quiet, with my own door. Ballard was originally a Norwegian fishing village, so it has a practical, no-bullshit, blue-collar atmosphere I like.