Boom! The house shakes. Not a little. A lot. Really. It felt like someone threw a grand piano from the second floor to the first. And we have vaulted ceilings, so they probably tossed it up, over the railings to give it more of a chance to build up some good momentum.
No, no, that just doesn't seam probable, as we have no grand piano on the second floor, let alone anywhere in the house. Better check and see what ginormously hugantic object caused such a thing. Sounded like it came from the billiard room, or the lounge. Those rooms are ok. Better look out the 2nd floor window in that direction...
[plus some lighting adj in Photoshop. It was night time.]
Wow. That's not a little fire. It's a block away, and I can hear screaming and yelling. And more explosions! Attempting to dial 911 resulted in a busy signal. So I figured they already knew about it. Other than the people that might have been hurt in the blast, I was not too worried - there is a fire station walking distance away.
But, apparently this fire station is nick named the retirement home. They don't move particularly fast. As I watched it burn higher and brighter, no sign of a fire truck. Eventually we hear and saw lights and siren. Fire truck? No. Police car. Wait more. Add a little more wait to that, because we just haven't yet spent enough time doing nothing while the house burns. More lights, sirens. Another police car. Followed in (relatively) short order are more lights and sirens. Yay! Finally a fire truck!
After they get things (more or less) under control, we headed over there to gawk, er, I mean help. Oh, uh, yeah, I had it right the first time. They had the area taped off just far enough away that with the fact that it was night time and smokey, we couldn't really see anything. The bad news was that the house was a complete write off, and it lit a neighbor's house on fire. The good news is that the neighboring house only took minimal damage, and that there were no injuries beyond abrasions and smoke inhalation.
On the way back, a half block away, we noticed the police and fire personnel had taped off a spot on the other sidewalk where apparently some shrapnel from the explosion(s) had fallen. Glad no one was hurt from that too.
According to the news, the cause of the fire was an exploding oxygen tank. I would not have thought that would cause that kind of concussion a full block away. And what were those other (smaller) explosions that followed?