4.17.2008

Earth Day


To some Earth day is a day to think about being good to our mother Earth. To me, it's a day of remembering a bit of fear.

Some of you here in the Pacific Northwest may remember the the recent arson's in the Woodinville area courtesy of the ELF*

This was not the first time that this terrorist group has struck a housing development. 

Back on Earth Day 2004 we were moving into our new house (the one we are in now) We had moved the closing date up 3 days in order to get some painting done on the inside.

That day the movers were here, the painters, and Braydon and I were bringing the odds and ends over from the other house.  Plus, there was still construction going on all around us around the neighborhood.

We live in a neighborhood tucked back down a road that not many know about. 37 homes all on a shy acre. We have 40 acres of native growth surrounding us, land that cannot be built on or even accessed by road. lots of trees, streams....untouchable by developers.

That night in our new home was chaotic. We were running around getting things put away, unpacking boxes, getting ready for school, work and enjoying the new house smell.

Brandon and I steeped out on the deck around 10pm, after getting Braydon put to bed. WOW, it was really dark, after living in town with all of the street lights the lack of neighbors and street lights made it pitch black in our backyard. 

We stared off into the darkness. We heard a sound, like something walking across rocks in the backyard of the empty house next door. I joked with Brandon that it was a big bear and it was going to come eat us....because I'm 9 years old.

That night we went to bed around 11pm. You know how it is in a new house....you hear everything. all the new sounds, plus I'm a light sleeper. Mind you we only have one neighbor at this point who we have not yet met....it was pretty desolate.

Around 1:30am I woke up to glass breaking. I looked out of the bedroom window(which is on the 2ND floor) and I see HUGE flames to my right. It looks to me like our garage roof is on fire. I scream to Brandon that our house is on fire and I run downstairs to the phone to dial 911.

As I'm dialing I open the doors to the deck to get a better look. It's not our house, the house next door is completely on fire. As the 911, dispatch is asking me my address, which I don't know by heart yet. I look again, not only is it the house next door, but the house down from that is on fire as well.
The 911 dispatch asks me, " Are you sure it is 2 houses?" 
"Yes, and they are completely engulfed hurry!!" I yell back into the phone.
She asks me again, "Are you sure it's two houses? I need to know who to send."
I yell back into the phone, "Send them all, really it's two houses, they are not occupied and they are about to burn to the ground."

My next thought is getting out of our house. I can feel the heat off of the houses resonating over to us. What if a spark flies?, Oh, God, what if the propane tank explodes? The houses are pretty close, and it's damm hot. What I learned later is that the propane tank will with stand all of that heat, we wee in no danger of that happening.

Brandon grabs Braydon out of his bed and we run outside. We are met by our new neighbor.
He introduces himself and welcomes us to the neighborhood, sarcastically of course.

How could this have happened? How could both houses catch fire at the same time.... At first of course we thought one caught the other on fire. But, soon we were informed that it was in fact arson. 
Later that night we were told 2 more houses had bombs in them that did not ignite....bombs?

 For a weeks yellow crime tape scattered our neighborhood, we were interviewed by FBI, the ATF, we had news crews hounding us for interviews, lookie loos driving by asking us if those were the houses that burned....duh! I even had people come knock on our door to ask me questions.

At one point our driveway was blocked off, I had to park down the street and walk under the crime scene tape to get to my new house.....what had we done? What sort of neighborhood had we moved to.

It wasn't just a little fire, it was arson. A Eco*terrorist group had set these fires to get a point across about urban sprawl.

There is more to this story, But I won't go into the many lives hurt by this one act....I will just say, insurance does not cover acts of terrorism, that is why this group claims responsibility. 

If we had not moved in that night, our house could have been burned, which would have left us without a house and our builder, who is now a very good friend of mine, would not have been able to feed his family. 
One of those houses was for a woman and her teenage son who were going thorough a horrible divorce. She was moving out of her ex's house... now she had no place to go.

The builder of those houses has since gone bankrupt.
And not to mention the fear I had for several months after, wondering if the culprits were driving around looking at what they caused...every car was a suspect to me.

I just don't think it was being very green to burn these houses on Earth Day (or at all) 
Every Earth Day since my neighbor and I give each other a little nob across the driveway, each of us knowing what the other is thinking.