Waking up in early hours from deep dreams, I thought I heard the heavy fall of footsteps on the scaffolding. Mouth dry and heart thudding, I realised this was no night terror, but something far worse. A bitter smell of burning rubber, and thick oily smoke forced its way through the cracks and crevices of the walls, causing chests to tighten and breathing to become shallow. Blue lights flashing through windows and the deep throbbing pulse of mighty engines, dragged us from our beds; scrabbling for thick jumpers and slippers before descending to the front door.
Out in the cold night air, billows of smoke and muffled explosions were coming from the parking garage beneath our feet; beneath the very foundations of our homes. Neighbours, pale-faced with exhaustion gathered round,waiting for the fire crews to emerge from the smoking depths to explain what had happened; what we should do.
Gas pipes copper melting with blue flame, metal twisted , molten plastic ;all moulding into warped and ashen skeletons impossible to recognise as their former selves. The acrid smell of charring clung to buildings and nostrils. Fire out, the damage was devastating. All essential services rendered useless. Cold homes, empty taps, gas capped , no water......
So now we the nomads seek shelter; our lives bundled into a series of bags; relying upon the gentle kindness of family and friends, until the cold empty houses become homes once more.