Monday, August 22, 2011

Fatal Overnight Fire/Explosion

Last night around midnight, a couple of local residents lost their lives in a fatal fire and mysterious explosion.

According to reports, the 33-year-old resident had an 18-year-old neighbor friend come up to help him move some furniture, or something off a truck into a garage/workshop behind the man's house.

What happened next really isn't clear; some reports say the explosion happened first, however, the fire dept. had already been called, and the first truck was in route when the explosion happened.

My son was listening to his scanner and he heard a firefighter arriving at the first-in station to pick up a truck report that he could see the flames from there.  He got the truck and was in route when he witnessed the explosion happen.

“It’s a mystery,” Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd said. “We’re baffled. Usually when there’s an explosion like this, it sucks all the oxygen out and there’s no fire. This was a big explosion and a big fire.”

Dodd said the initial blast blew out the walls of the building, and then the roof came down.
“It threw debris approximately 100 yards, so it was a massive explosion,” Dodd said.

 “We’ve not been able to find any reason for the explosion,” the chief said late Monday morning.
“Right now, we have a backhoe up here digging through the debris,” Dodd said. “We do know there were no liquids in there, nothing flammable (did he mean combustible?), no propane, no natural gas, so it’s just kind of a mystery to us right now.”
Dodd said the family had antiques, clothing and other assorted items stored in the out building.'

'The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent an investigator to help, because of the explosion. However, after hours of shifting through the debris with the help of a backhoe, investigators still had found no reason for the explosion.
“The ATF guy is baffled too,” Dodd said.

Asked if investigators had found anything to suggest that illegal drug activity, such as the manufacture of methamphetamine, might have caused the explosion, Dodd said, “we have not been able to rule it out, but the information that we’ve gathered from witnesses and family members does not lead us to believe that at this point.”

Ref: Read more: The Fish Wrap - Police and fire officials still searching for clues about fire

*Me: In this County, my first guess was meth-making, but I don't know these people or anything about them and wouldn't want to make any judgements because I wouldn't want people to make judgements like that about me.
It's just such a really strange thing - buildings don't just explode for no reason.

Other than the "Hmm" factor, the reason I was interested in this incident is because, had he not supposed to have had Class this morning, my son would have gone on this call, with his new station. (More about that later.)
He wouldn't've been anywhere near the first in, so no worries about him nearly getting exploded like that first firefighter...who was the Chief of that station.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In the Kitchen This Weekend

Most days I hate spending time in the kitchen, because usually I'm just standing there, peering into a cabinet, wondering what the heck I'm going to cook for dinner.

Other times, I love being in the kitchen, generally when I have something I want to cook, or like especially this time of the year when the crops are coming in and I'm doing perserving for the winter.

We didn't raise any okra in our garden this year...not sure why, since we love it so much.  Luckily one of John's buddies raises a big enough garden to feed an army, and tells John (and everyone else he knows) to come help their self to all they want.
The guy just enjoys gardening, and does it a on very large scale. He gives so much and helps alot of people that wouldn't be able to afford such a bounty of fresh veggies.

So after J got off duty yesterday morning, he went and spent a couple of hours picking okra.

At home, I washed it and cut it up, fried up a batch for lunch, and bagged the rest for the freezer.

My Grannie and Mom always cooked the best fried okra. I never tried because I thought it would be too hard, and I'm not about doing anything too hard.

Then I ran across the neatest site,
The site is ran by Christy Jordan, a real southern gem from Alabama.  She tells some of the most wonderful stories that brings back so many good and special memories for me, and then she gives the real, authentic recipes of dishes I remember as a kid, but didn't know how to fix myself.

She not only gives the recipe, but fixes it herself, taking pictures step-by-step and posts them so you can follow along one step at a time if necessary (and it is necessary for me).
 Fried Okra

Along with the okra, I breaded a boneless pork chop with some Morton's crusting stuff I got cheap with a coupon deal one time. Baked it at 350* for 20 mins on one side, then flipped and baked another 20mins. It was juicy and delish.

I fixed 12 quarts (pounds) to put in the freezer.

I didn't know the actual fill size of a quart, so I used my little kitchen scale to measure a pound's worth in each.

So while I was pecking around at the site (I had to look up the okra recipe again, on account of my memory being so bad, and I couldn't find the recipe I had previously printed out), I found a couple of other interesting looking recipes.

One was Tomato Mozzarella Melts.

These were made with Roma tomatoes, but we had picked a bunch of Cherry tomatoes yesterday and I thought, I bet those would be neat to use with this recipe, like little snacker-popper things.

John liked them, and got me to print the recipe so they could make them at work since they have a profusion of Cherry tomatoes growing there, too.

And then I found she had posted a recipe for Yoo-Hoo Ice Cream, or like Wendy's Frostys.

We love Frostys a lot, and boy, if I could make them at home, I'd be all kinds a favorite Momma.

I read the comments (because I always read comments) and per some other reader suggestions, I substituted one of the cans of condensed milk with a bowl of cool whip instead.

We ran the ice cream maker for an hour and a half or maybe even two hours, and they came out the consistancy of a not-very-thick milk shake, so I'm not sure if that was the way it was supposed to be or not.

At any rate, they were very good, the kids loved them.
It was alot of effort to fix and run the ice cream machine, but we have one of those little Play and Make ice cream making balls, so we can make smaller batches at a time next time.

Edited to add:  J put the rest of the Yoo-Hoo ice cream that we didn't drink into the freezer, and when we got it out for some more later it had froze more solid, into a sherbet-like consistancy. More icy-crystal-ly than smooth, like Frosty's.  But it was still really good. Num num num num. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lost in Translation

Yesterday Kev went to Dave & Buster's with a friend (if you don't know, D&B's is like a grown-up Chuck E. Cheese's).
Later, he texted to let us know that he had won 1,318 tickets, with which he had 'bought' (from the gift redemption counter) "a little yellow jacket, a small soccer ball, and a tiny shot glass that says Dave & Buster's on it".

While I was impressed with his thesaurus-like usage of descriptive words, we wondered about the little yellow jacket.  He's more of a black color wearing type, and if not black, then the darkest shades of other colors.
Yellow? Nahh.

(Not Kevin)

It wasn't until he got home that we realized he hadn't been talking about a lemon-colored weather-buffering piece of apparel, but instead a stuffed toy of Georgia Tech's mascot - the Yellow Jacket!
Go Jackets!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Early Morning House Fire

Last week there was an early morning housefire.

At around 5:00 am, a neighbor saw this house on fire and called 911, then proceeded to go to the house and bang on the front door to wake the resident.
A neighbor ended up busting open the front door with an axe, however, at that point it was too smokey, hot, and flaming for the neighbor to enter.
So things are already rolling, so to speak.

The first-in station arrives, sets up command, pulls a line, arranges a rescue team, and so on.
At any rate, it's still a few more minutes before the rescue team is ready to go in after the woman resident, who is still asleep in her bed at this point. (Not kidding!)

I don't know how long the firefighters were inside the house prior to the beginning of this video, but as the video starts, there are four guys inside.

At about 14-15 seconds, you see a flame-up, indicating that part of the roof has collapsed (could you imagine being the Chief at that point!?).

It's still at least another 45 seconds video-time before you see them coming out the front door. The video was clearly edited a couple of times, so that's even more seconds we don't know about.

Four firefighters came too close to losing their lives that morning.
And that's all I'll say about it.