The fire that sparked another fire

I've mentioned before that my neighbors in Springtown were nuts. If you didn't believe me in the last post, you will after this one.

I'm not even sure when I realized that they were never there anymore. The rundown trailer got more rundown, if that's possible. Days, possibly weeks, would go by with little or no movement over there. Sometimes late at night, I would wake up to yelling, and know that someone was over there.

Other times, they would make their presence known by parking in front of my closed gate and honking. It was usually during dinner time. I would walk out to my gate barefoot, with my dogs bark and growling around my legs, to see what my neighbors wanted. The lady would be braless, of course, and would immediately start asking me questions about my job. I have no idea why I ever let it slide that I worked at CPS, but she remembered it, and constantly started conversations with "I have this friend whose son......". It was a beatdown.

While she yapped away, her short and wide husband would hop out of the truck, and start interrupting her. He had sweat stains under his arms, and always smelled extremely ripe, to put it mildly.

One day, they came by after at least a month of no visits. They informed me that they were not living there anymore, but living on some other property about 20 minutes away. They informed me that they were letting 'a friend' live in the trailer, 'if I ever saw him.' I didn't think anything of it, other than to think that their friend must either never leave the trailer, or must never be home, because I hadn't seen him a single time.

[As a side note: My bedroom windows faced the side of my property, but when people drove down the county road, their headlights would shine in my room. So, during my long stints of insomnia, I would stare at the headlights slashing across my walls. ]

A few days after the Stinkies' visit, I had just drifted off to sleep when I woke up with a start. I didn't hear anything, but my room was lit up by someone's headlights. I got out of bed to peer out the window, only to see a truck blocking the driveway of the trailer house. I saw someone get out, cross in front of the truck, and walk up the driveway. I then heard some banging. While struggling to make out the person, I noticed what appeared to be a small fire. It wasn't uncommon to see people around here burning trash in big barrels, and that's what I thought it was.

"What the f...?"

My husband woke up to that comment, and asked me what our nutso neighbors were doing. I told him I didn't know, but it appeared that they were burning trash at 1am. In the couple of seconds it took me to look in my husband's direction and tell him this, there was this horrendous explosion. I looked back through the blinds to see someone running away from the trailer, back towards the truck. All of a sudden this small fire was a big fire.

While my husband scrambled out of bed, I ran down the hallway to get a look at this truck as it drove by my house. I crept out onto the front porch in the dark, vaguely aware that I was wearing very little. When I finally saw the truck speeding by my property, I got a little frightened. What the hell was this guy doing? What if he sees me??

He slowed down in front of my gate for a split second, and then took off. I looked over at the trailer, which was now burning pretty good. I grabbed my cell phone and called 911. I informed the guy that someone had been sitting in front of the driveway, and I gave him a description of the truck.

Just as I was going to hang up, the truck drove back by. I fell to the ground by my porch, and crawled to my door. I told the dispatcher that the truck was back. When I hung up, the truck was again parked in front of the trailer's driveway, and I could hear sirens creeping closer.

My husband came outside just in time to see the trailer blow the fuck up. And I mean blow up. The flames shot much higher than my pecan trees. In the dark I could hear the running hooves of the horses and donkeys, as they made their way to the farthest point from the trailer.

The air was filled with more than smoke. The smell was awful; strong, sour, and chemical. Bits of ash began to fall on us. We went back inside because our eyes were watering and our throats burning.

Looking back through our windows, I watched the truck take off just as the first volunteer fire truck crested the hill. Within a few minutes there were 2 more fire trucks. The fire hydrant was along our property line, so my husband got his flashlight and helped the firemen re-fill their trucks. I called my nutso neighbor at 2am, to tell her that her trailer was on fire. She screamed in my ear, "It's on fire?????" I assured her that the animals were fine (I had already gone to the edge of their property to check on them) and that the fire department was there.

My child slept through the whole situation. The fire was out a couple of hours later. It was burning much too hot for the firemen to get close to it. It spread to the pasture. The smell was unbearable the entire time.

The next afternoon, the trailer was a mess of cinders and ash. It was still smoking 12 hours later. The property looked like a bomb had hit. And essentially, it sorta was a bomb, if you consider a meth lab a bomb.

Yes, a damn meth lab. You read that right. The county fire marshal came out to discuss what I had seen and heard. He mentioned just how hot the fire was burning, stating that it was a chemical fire, but also seemed pretty suspicious at this point. Indeed.

A few days later, my nutso neighbors pulled up into my driveway to 'talk'. They were very obviously seeking out information.

The next afternoon, my neighbor with the dog that liked to hump Daisy called my cell phone while I was nowhere near home. She is a person with lots of energy, and in her excitement, I could hardly understand her. Once I got her to slow down, I realized she was telling me that one of my pecan trees was on fire. Incidentally, it was a pecan tree directly across from the trailer's driveway. Also? The tree was more than a little dead. I mean d.e.a.d. It was right along the fence line. It had a couple of branches, no leaves, no bark, no pecans, no nada. The woodpeckers used it to practice their abilities, and there were a few holes in it that may have contained other animal nests. I loved this tree. It was gorgeous to me, and that's why my husband didn't cut it down. And now? It was on fire?

I got home quickly, in time to give the same damn firemen from the other night some bottled water. The tree was annihilated. They had to pull it down and cut it up. The pasture around the tree was burnt. The firemen found it highly unlikely that the tree just caught fire on it's own. And considering how old it was, it definitely needed some sort of accelerant to burn the hell out of it.

I have no pictures left of this gorgeous tree. I'm so upset! It was so pretty to me. The only picture I have is this close-up:

Do you think these two fires were related? I do. Do you think I was a little uncomfortable with being in that house alone (since my husband worked all the time)? Uh, yeah. Yet another situation that convinced me it was time to move out of Springtown!


Sarah said...

oh my gosh this story is like "Lifetime movie" good! That poor tree :(

Anonymous said...

OMG! The two fires seem more than a little coincidental but I had no idea you could make meth out of pecan trees!

Hang in there, love!!

Anonymous said...

Uh....wow. You really did have the neighbors from hell.

Unknown said...

that is totally scary and Yes, it might have been the guy in the truck! Didn't they hunt him down??

trish said...

I see you're reading The Year of Fog. I really loved the book, though other people I know who read it didn't like it as much as me. Michelle Richmond has a newer book out, No One You Know, which I have on my nightstand but haven't dug into yet.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That is quite a story! And...the explosion sounds WAY COOL! LOL

just a girl... said...

weirdo's and yes totally related

jwright said...

wow ... I used to live in Springtown, Tx. Its crazy out there ...there are alot of ppl who live in rundown trailers like that. And alot of crazy ppl out there. I live in mississippi now...god I love the city

Kristie said...

That's crazy!!! I'm so glad that you guys were ok in the explosion, that's for sure!