On a bike ride Saturday, I stumbled upon a house that had suffered a major fire recently. My riding partner has a real thing for abandoned buildings, so of course we had to take a closer look.
I didn’t think much of it at first. Ragged, charred holes in the roof, smashed windows, door hanging open on one hinge.
But then I reached the front porch and the smell hit me. Even after all this time, I know that smell, down to my very bones. Smoked sheet rock and lumber laced with the flat dull smell of barren dirt. My family home burned to the ground when I was nine years old, and that smell still jumped out at me as vivid as yesterday.
The insides of the house look just as sad as you’d imagine. Everything ruined, from the combined effects of the fire, the mind-bending amount of water used to extinguish the fire, and the subsequent exposure to the elements.