Eric and I were sitting at the dining room table eating our dinner on Sunday, when I noticed what looked like a flashing red light atop one of the buildings out our window. I wasn't sure what it was but didn't think much of it. And then, as we were digging in to dessert, I caught sight of the flames. That flashing red light had been a light on top of a fireman's ladder, at an apartment building two blocks over that was quite obviously on fire.
The view from our living room of smoke pouring out of the building
The fire apparently started on the ground floor of the building, which houses a little bodega and a jewelry store, and then moved up through all five floors, the remainder of which are residential.
Luckily, all of the tenants of this building made it out alright. A few were treated for smoke inhalation, but there were no casualties. The building, however, has been declared uninhabitable and the street around it is still closed as they start to demolish the portions of the building that cannot be saved. Hopefully, at least some of the building will be able to be repaired.
As Eric and I watched the building burn, my heart just broke for the people who call it home. We've all answered that question that everyone loves to ask: "if your house was on fire and you could only grab one thing on your way out, what would you take?" But what if that question stopped being hypothetical and became real? What if you really lost everything you owned in an instant? Your home, your possessions, your tangible memories? I can't even imagine what that must feel like.
Watching this unfold reminded me to take a moment and be so grateful for all that I have. Especially lately when my mind is occupied with almost nothing besides thoughts of baby prep and the stress that can accompany that, I needed to take a moment to breathe and be thankful. Nothing should ever be taken for granted, because you never know if it may be taken from you in an instant. I am blessed and I don't say thanks for all that I have nearly often enough.
Hoboken is a great community, and fundraisers have already been organized and donations accepted to help the victims of this fire. I'm sure that nothing can replace what these people lost, but I pray that in time they will be able to rebuild and start fresh.