The ringing of her cell phone still startled her, even though she was awake and staring at the ceiling. She took a breath to slow her pounding heart, and answered. It was the lieutenant.
“Fire on 225 Cedar. Thought you’d like to know.” The lieutenant didn’t particularly like her, but that’s okay. He always called if there was something important.
She thanked him and jumped out of bed. Her clock said 2:05am. Why did firebugs always burn things at such an ungodly hour?
She turned the light on in her closet, found some jeans and socks and rushed out of her room and down the stairs.
Her father’s weak and confused call stopped her halfway down.
She paused and walked back up the stairs.
“Sorry Dad, there’s a fire. I’ve gotta go.”
He tried to answer but a cough took his words away. She felt a pang of guilt. After a moment he managed to say,
“Okay. Be careful with my girl.”
She assured him she would and walked more sedately down the stairs. Tennis shoes slipped on, fire inspector windbreaker thrown on with her badge in her pocket, she was out the door in under 10 minutes.
The local fire department, House 20, beat her to the scene by about 5 minutes. The fire was still raging. Just a one alarm, meaning that there was only House 20 responding, it wasn’t much of a fire, but she was sure the owners of the house were less than thrilled. The neighborhood of 225 Cedar was single family, two-story houses, with grassy lawns and modestly sized backyards. The neighbors were out in force, watching the spectacle.
She ducked past the policeman, and waved at the lieutenant.
“Word just in – they’re bringing a person out.”
The lieutenant nodded and walked to meet the ambulance that had just roared up.
A survivor – good. She watched the fire fighters were carrying a fairly large body out. Perhaps a suspect?
She needed to talk to that survivor.