I was sitting in my office Thursday when a fire truck raced down Six Forks Road, sirens blaring. This is not terribly uncommon, since there's a fire station about half a mile from our building. But then several minutes later, another truck sped by. And ten minutes later, another one. "What's going on?" I thought to myself. Or rather, thought to myself out loud, which prompted a coworker to look up the local headlines online. There was a fire in a North Raleigh townhouse subdivision. I had heard in the weather forecast earlier that there would be high winds and low humidity, which in California always meant prime wildfire conditions. But you don't hear about wildfires much here in North Carolina. Things are too lush. But somehow, a home had caught on fire, and because it was attached to many other homes, and it was windy, the fire spread quickly. In total, 27 homes were destroyed, and 11 damaged. The cause? "Carelessly discarded smoking material."
I will spare you a rant about the ills of smoking, however I must express my disdain for smokers who carelessly throw their still-on-fire butts out the car window, or onto the ground. Not only is this littering (a big pet peeve of mine to begin with) but it's also dangerous, as evidenced by this horrible fire. If 10,000 acres of brush burn because wind knocks down a power line, that's certainly a shame. And of course it is sad to think of the poor wild animals who perish in a fire of that size. But when you see the photos of people's homes completely burned to the ground, and you hear of their pets being burned alive (either because the family wasn't home at the time to rescue them, or they had to flee so quickly they didn't even have time to grab their pet) and it's all because of a stupid cigarette butt, that is really just appalling.
What's scary is that it could happen to anyone's home due to the carelessness of another human being. I could be so compulsive as to check 5 times that my curling iron is off, but someone else's absent-mindedness (or worse, complete disregard for others) could just basically ruin my life. And that's what happened to these poor people of Pine Knoll Townes.
Here's a link to some photos of the devastation. If you are compelled, help here.