Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Orange Skies and the "Stinky Cloud" - Original post 10/6/06

First of all..thanks to all my friends and family and others that have contacted me to make sure my family and I are all right. We are....

About 10:00PM last night (10/5), a chemical storage facility in Apex caught fire and exploded. There were explosions on and off through the night. I live about 5 miles from the site...and heard the boomers. Yikes!

Eventually, about 17,000 people were evacuated because of the cloud of contaminated smoke. No one knew (and still doesn't know) what chemicals were stored in the facility...all they knew was "at least chlorine." I worked as a pool manager WAY back when and we dealt with chlorine gas...and had to wear gas masks as a percaution. One of my colleagues had to be hospitalized because he didn't follow the proper instructions...so I know what chlorine gas can do. So this "cloud" was serious shit.

My good friend Rod called around 12:30 to offer us to stay at his house. I hadn't talked to Rod in MONTHS...and it was very generous of him to think of me and my family. I owe Rod and his family dinner...just for the offer. At 2:00, one of my more alarmist neighbors rang our doorbell to make sure we knew of the situation. I had JUST started to dose off to sleep...but I wasn't angered by his warning...it was nice to have a neighbor be concerned about others. He and his family "fled north". I counted two other families that evacuated later on...one being my newer next door neighbors from India. I wonder if they remember the Bopal disaster way back when? (Side note...if you remember, Union Carbide in Bopal, India had a massive chemical leak. The only other place in the world where that chemical was processed was my home town growing up....so chemical "scares" are nothing new to me.) My other next door neighbor and I discussed our individual strategy in his driveway at 2:30AM...in our pajamas...lol. Quite a sight I'm sure.

My family decided to stay put (and so did my neighbor). And no, I don't think it was foolish to do so. Much like a predicted path of a hurricane, the evac zone was a very generous and wide area "just to be safe." My house was 1/2 mile from the evacuation area....but I felt that even on the border of the area, we'd be safe. Turns out to have been a good decision since the "shelter" (which was only a 1/2 mile futher from the evac zone) was severely lacking in cots on which to have my kids sleep. And I probably put too much trust in the local officials to notify us if we had to be evacuated...but that was my choice. Still...I only got about 2 hours sleep...to the sounds of emergency vehicle sirens and an occasional exploding barrel of toxic goo.

This morning, we monitored the activty on television. My daughter is a virtual bloodhound, so we asked her to smell for the "stinky cloud." She only smelled something stinky near the bathroom...lol. Anyhow, there was no further need to worry. And at 8:30, the rain came...most likely dissipating the "cloud" from the sky. Getting to work was a pain, due to closed off roads....but not impassible. I made it by 10:00...and have been addressing questions from co-workers as well as friends and family ever since...lol. Maybe I should have stayed home. But seriously...thanks again for all the inquiries and concern.

So in closing...anyone wanna buy a house? Guaranteed colorful sunrises and a unque "essense" in the air.

Catch ya later...

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