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I was driving home with C. Yu, A. Agrawal, and J. Rosario after lunch today, and from the highway we could see, in the distance, a big cloud of smoke. I nonchalantly cracked a joke, “Oh crap, guys, my house is on fire!” We all laughed.

Little did I know…

As we drove closer to my home (we were actually intending to go to C. Yu’s house and we just happened to be driving closer), I realized that the fire was, in fact, very nearby and steered us home instead. Arriving at my house, I found cars parked every which way as spectators came to watch. Running into my house, I saw my mother frantically packing things, and my father in the backyard with our garden hose attempting to soak the surrounding area (I live on a hill surrounded by dried grass). I was a little alarmed at this, but took it in stride and tried to assess the situation. Looking down the hill, I saw firefighters extinguishing the flames (one hapless owner saw the flames approach to within 3-4 feet of his backyard), and felt things must be under control.

That sentiment vanished when I looked down the side of the hill closer to my backyard — there, no less than 20-30 feet from my house were very threatening-looking flames. I raced into my neighbor’s home to get backup — they weren’t home, so I broke into their backyard, and took their hose and immediately started drenching the area around both our homes with water in the hopes that it would at least slow the nearby flame enough (if the flame got any closer) such that the fire fighters could work their way to our home.

Thankfully, the firefighters arrived before things got too hot (yes, bad joke); at the end, the fire was stopped probably some ~20 feet from our backyard.

Luckily, no serious property damage or injury happened for me, my family, or any of my neighbors. But, a harrowing experience nevertheless.

And, of course, here’s a picture of me laughing in the face of danger as I use my neighbor’s hose to stem the evil flames. (Yes, that’s right, Consultant by profession, Lucky-firefighter by happenstance)

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