You would think that using Kerosene stoves and coal heaters in houses made out of wood and paper would be a bit like building Nuclear power plants in a country prone to Earthquakes and Tsunamis. You would be right.
At the end of winter when Shibukawa is at it’s driest, windiest and still cold enough to warrant a heater there are always fires.

I happened to be walking home from a drinking party one night when I caught a whiff of smoke on the air. The smoke became visible and I realized it was close to where I happened to be heading. The city's PA announcment system rang out warning that a fire had started around the NTT (telephone provider) building. That was a block away from me and I had my camera. I thought, “HELLS YES I AM GOING TO TAKE PHOTOS OF THE NTT BUILDING GOING UP!!! Maybe I could even get my pics published in the paper if I am the first on the scene.” P1160736
As it turned out the NTT Building was fine but rather a house behind it was aflame. When I got within sight of the place the fire department was struggling to get it under control. Though we could see only a little flame, it was clearly a large blaze that was raging inside the house.
After a few minutes it appeared that there were still people trapped inside. The Shibukawa fire department was quick and entered the house as quickly as they safely could.
They established a cordon and pushed us spectators back a bit so they could battle the still raging fire and shield us from possibly viewing anyone they rescued from the building.P1160749
At this point I was starting to take strain from the cold and was tired of breathing in the toxic fumes so I headed home. In the end I didn’t see if anyone was inside or not but I was thoroughly impressed with the efficiency and tenacity of the Shibukawa Fire department. They did their jobs well. and did what they could in light of this small disaster.



No comments: