I’d been to the Lee Price Chopper and Salmon Run Fish House and everything was in the house for New Year’s Eve. Snow was beginning, I was wisely hanging out in the living room watching "Pride and Prejudice." I heard a beeping. On the telly? Turned it off to find out. Beeping continued. I walked into my kitchen louder -- onto porch -- louder. "Oh," I thought "Must be the smoke detector for the basement."
I opened the basement door and smoke billowed up. I did not investigate. I called 911. They knew my address and name and said they’d be right there.
Two or three minutes later several cars including a police car arrived. A fireman asked me where the basement door was and where the turn-off button was for the oil burner. Two fire engines arrived with about seven uniformed firemen and one guy in a tan jacket and a green knit cap (Chucky Cardillo, the fire chief). There was dark smoke pouring out of the chimney into the snowy sky.
They opened the doors in my kitchen and a fireman in a gas mask with an oxygen cylinder on his back and a huge red fan plunged into the basement. The fire was soon out. I called Kimball Oli and they said a repairman would be there. He was Stanley, who called his wife to tell her he’d gotten to my house safely after a slow, snowy drive from Pittsfield, and got the furnace running and heat into the house.
My initial reaction was amusement. Everyone who came into my kitchen
NANCY F. NIRENBERG