Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Of local news is last evening’s damaging fire in the East Hampton Market, a grocery store with a fairly long pedigree under a few assorted kennel names! And it was about 7:00 pm. Sirens heard everywhere, even in our house some four miles away (but not in Kay’s kitchen, a block away, as she was concentrating on the cooking!)

A shame. A good source for quality meats and the sort of grocery items that come and go in more mainstream places. Bisto gravy granules, for example, dear to my pantry!

Yet reading the online reports from the East Hampton Star, the local rag, I am amazed. Quote:

East Hampton Fire Chief Ray Harden said in a press release that about 100 fire volunteers in all responded and that the fire was quickly brought under control.

One hundred volunteers. Quite amazing, possibly commendable, but sensational, considering that that is over half the number of firefighters that attended the fire at Windsor Castle in 1992. Yet the Market was more about produce than paintings, sausages not stained windows and antique staircases. Remarkable.

Of equal remark was the report that five of those volunteer firefighters were hospitalized for minor injuries, but thankfully released.

I am not writing as an armchair observer. I stake a claim as a qualified and suffering Royal Navy firefighter. Even as a Chaplain. I have lost count of the times when, before joining a ship or squadron, I have been cold, wet and tired while being a part of a (training) three-man hose team, or coordinating the same. I have fought exercise fires on decks, in and around aircraft, and in (often very) confined spaces. And those exercise fires were real and hot. I know how to put on a “Fearnought” suit wearing a blindfold, and help my buddy do the same. Then take it off and do it again. And again. I know about air tanks, regulators, the timing and why. And even in exercise I have felt fear before jets of flame.

What on earth was in the East Hampton Market?

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