I was in the 700 block of South Sixth a little after 5 p-m Thursday when I noticed. There was a brownish gray tinge to the northern horizon. Not a good sign. Something is on fire.
Being a reporter means you routinely travel with a recorder, a notepad and nowadays a camera--even in radio. Fires mean you pretty much drop what you’re doing if possible and go to work. If I see a smoke plume--especially in town-- I'll go and see what's happening. After pulling over for a few seconds to put batteries in the camera—it eats AAA’s like candy and will drain them for some reason if you leave ‘em in. Then it was up 6th Street as fast as the law and courteous driving would allow.
When I crossed Oak, it occurred to me that this might be a very big fire. Turns out it was. I got out of the car a couple blocks south of the fire and walked the rest of the way. I started taking pictures as I walked up and I worked my way around the fire scene.
Apparently, this was just after firefighters retreated from within the house. When I got around to the west side, I was taken aback by how hot it was as the fire was burning through the west side of the roof. Had to be over 100 degrees around 150 to 200 feet from the flames. Didn’t take long for me to put some more distance between me and the fire.
For me, being safe and being aware of my surroundings is priority one when covering a story like this. It’s pretty hard to file a story when the ambulance crew is taking you to the ER. Actually the big thing is to watch what you’re walking on.
I parked downwind and returned to a car with a fair amount of ash and water drop marks on it. Note to self for the next fire. Park upwind.
It’s sad to see Quincy lose a landmark--especially one where the new owners had big plans to return the building to its former glory. Two boys evidently have some difficult times ahead as a result of this fire. Here’s hoping this is something they can put behind them and avoid further trouble in their lives. I was also gratified to learn that there were no injuries.