White Dog. In my sleep I put my arm down to respond to the jump up to awaken me. At the same time my brain processed "Why is WHITE DOG here?" my oxygen concentrator started screaming to alert the loss of electricity. We were fully awake in an instant.
I ripped my sleep apnea mask off. "Steve I smell ozone!"
I began calling and gathering White Dogs to me so I could push them in a line through the dog door should we need to evacuate immediately. They were serious and controlled and responded just like we have drilled a million times. I was amazed and whispered a prayer of thanks.
Steve went to check the house. "All safe in here," he called. I heard him hastily pulling on clothes. "Going to check outside."
Heart still pounding, I lavishly praised my Army for their focus and discipline. They began to get nervous knowing Steve was not with us.
Steve came back inside after a few minutes. "Holy cow! The big new building they are constructing on the corner is totally up in flames. Outside the air is horrible! There are firemen and police everywhere!"
It was strangely quiet for such a disaster. No sirens had alerted us to the unfolding event. Now listening carefully we could make out shouting and the circling helicopter.
Steve went back out, he knows the general contractor on the project and some of the architects involved. The blazing building left him personally touched. The WDA moved to wait for him by the door.
When he returned he reported the building was a total loss but that the first responders and firefighters had managed to keep all of the buildings around it safe from harm. Teams worked to collapse walls inward so as to not land on busy Central Avenue.
In the 3am darkness lit by huge spotlights, the wreckage of smoldering materials, licking flames, and twisted concrete and metal haunted.
The electricity returned but it was hard for anyone to get back to a comfortable sleep mode. The unease was heightened when we rose for breakfast and learned that the fire was the result of arson. Fire and police investigators have determined there were several origin points placed strategically at critical spots in the building.
It has been hard on the WDA today as helicopters continuously circle the neighborhood and police presence is heightened. Patrol cars frequently drive by and others on foot are canvasing the area for information.
The WDA is wary and watchful. And frankly, so am I.