Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Fire In My Neighbourhood

Last Sunday, every kid in my taman learnt a very very very important lesson, single-handedly taught by one boy, at an age of curiosity and mischief.. Yes, you guessed right, he is between the age of 1 to 25.

At about 5pm, the boys and I were leaving the house to go for a swim when I saw people standing along my jalan and looking towards a house opposite mine, next to it. Smoke was billowing from the back. Shit, this can't be good.

So we parked back in, and got out to find out more a.k.a. kepoh. Turned out, a boy was playing with fire in his room. He was lighting up a frayed thread hanging from his towel. And then the next thing he knew, his room was consumed by fire. Thank goodness, older brother alerted his mom whom I reckon quickly scooped her 5months-old baby and her 2 boys out of the house. I cannot imagine the shock.

The arsonist was sitting by a neighbour's gate, surrounded by 10 other kids around the neighbour who often play together. Every single one was asking him "Engko yang main api? Engko yang buat?"

That poor kid was looking so petrified. He was the naughty one, and he always had that look of mischief, but at that moment, he just looked so terrified.

Within 5-10 minutes, we heard sirens blaring. I must say, the bomba is quite fast. By now, almost everyone in the neighbourhood, even from adjacent jalans, were out on the roads kepo-ing together. Semangat muhibah. While Daniel was busy running around with his friends, I brought Darren to check out the back lane of the house on fire. The back room was in flames. FURIOUS flames. This is the type of fire that you see in real life and actually realize how destructive and deadly it is.

I think the fire was put out within 20 minutes, or 30? I lost sense of time. My neighbourhood looked like there was a pasar malam. The poor boy was still sitting in a corner somewhere, amidst the commotion.

The police and Tenaga Nasional came too. By 7 plus pm, the streets were cleared. The mother was with the police, filing a report, while a couple of firemen did their clearance. Some of her relatives were there too. I think most of her belongings are still in the house. As she was busy tying up loose ends, I heard her eldest son ask "Mak, esok pergi sekolah tak?" She had no answer. In that amount of stress, I think I'd break. I wanted to walk over and ask if she needed anything but I figured I should just let her do her thing. Another person coming into the picture could just snap that thin line, if you know what I mean. Maybe when I see her next time. Oh, in case you were wondering where the father is, he was in Perak and wasn't due home in a few days. This, truly is an endurance test for any mothers.

 The night was quiet again... Everything will be OK, I will tell her.

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