Monday, March 15, 2010


Two weeks ago I was sitting at my computer (which faces out the window), and very innocently eating breakfast and reading emails. I looked out the window as I took a sip of coffee and saw puffs of smoke floating by... look! gasp!

The smoke was coming from little flames in a glassed-in balcony across the street. It was a breezy day, so even as I grabbed my cell phone and called Spanish 911 (112) I could see the flames getting bigger and bigger. There were some guys working on a roof below my apartment, and they'd stopped to stare at the fire. People began to come out onto balconies and lean out windows; I'm sure I wasn't the only person to call the fire department. I talked to the nice lady, who asked me all these questions I couldn't answer, like what the address of the building was and if there was anyone inside. Finally she told me the firemen were already on their way, and the flames were getting bigger.

(If you look closely you can see a Little Old Spanish Lady peeking out her window in the upper left corner)

In the distance we heard sirens, and the firemen pulled up and went running into the building. At this point the flames were huge and the roof was smoking; glass was cracking in the heat and falling in shards onto the street below. I couldn't believe what I was seeing; mostly I couldn't believe how familiar it smelled. Like a camp fire, or burned popcorn, or our wood stove at home. But that was someone's house, someone's home... Luckily there was no one inside, and no one was hurt. I had a perfect view of the jet of water coming from the inside of the apartment, spraying the flames and extinguishing them. Then the firemen came out looking very official and TV-like in their helmets and reflective suits.

I took a video of it; the pictures are one thing, but to see it in real time makes it seem more real.

The apartment is still charred and black; it seems like no one is living there, the apartment is still wide open to the air, and they haven't made any attempts to fix anything. I still don't know how it started - knowing the Spanish penchant for cigarettes I wouldn't be surprised if there was an errant spark somewhere.

So there you have it, my most recent adventure and first experience as a firefighter. Although by those standards anyone with a cell phone can be billed as a hero.

Rehearsal Videos

Just in case you haven't had enough of me gushing about choir.... here are some rehearsal videos. I like these better than the concert videos - although of course the quality is poor, I love how the voices sound in the empty cathedral.

Dadme albricias, hijos de Eva

Que bonito niño chiquito