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Chiang Mai Citylife > Articles > ONLINE > Up in Flames: watching my neighbour’s house burning to the ground last night

Up in Flames: watching my neighbour’s house burning to the ground last night

There was a fire last night at a house just across the street from mine. It was about 3am in the morning. In my sleep, I heard a noise but I refused to wake up until I heard my mom terrifyingly yelling ‘fire!’ The image I saw through the window was shocking. We grabbed our jackets and stepped outside.

It was a two storeys house – the kind that the top was wooden and the concrete on the bottom. Shortly, my mom and I found ourselves standing among the neighbours staring at the flame gradually devouring the house. No one was home, that’s what we heard. Did someone call the firefighter? The question was asked but no one was sure, so I called. I reached out to 191 (learned at that point that I didn’t even know the firefighter number). A police responded with full awareness of the situation. He said they were just around the corner.

Thirty minutes (or more) have passed. We watched the walls crumbling down, soon followed by the roof, and through all the cracking and sparkling noise our ears were seeking out the screeching noise of the siren. “Are they coming from another province or something?” a lady next door said restlessly. Our neighbourhood is compact with houses built just a mere couple feet from each other. I was looking at a super tall tree in front of the burning house. The flame was literally licking its leaves and at any second it could catch fire. There was an exploding sound – probably gas tank – then soon we heard dogs howling. My mom said they have dogs. Another lady said they were chained. While listened to the heartbreaking howls, I saw a shadow rush into the house and grabbed a dog out. But how many dogs were in there, I wasn’t sure.

The firefighters and police eventually arrived – strangely no siren was turned on – at nearly 4am. It didn’t take them long to control the fire. I always thought that news about fire was boring, but to witness one with my own eyes it is such a tragedy. I imagine coming home and found nothing’s left but the burned ruined and ashes. It is truly heartbreaking.

For all of our future references, this is the number for the fire department: 199