Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tragedy Too Close to Home

When I heard on the news this morning that there had been a fire at a house in Vanier and a little girl had died, it didn't have much impact on me. I am practiced at ignoring the painful parts of the news, since they are so plentiful, and there are usually a few deaths by fire per year in Ottawa. They inspire a momentary sadness and a round of checking the fire alarms in my building, but that's about it.

This time, circumstances have shown me the aftermath of the fire much too clearly to ignore. Sean is a friend of my neighbour Linda, and she lived in the other half of the duplex that burned down. In her half, the smoke alarms were working, so she got out safely and called for help, but it was too late for the little girl. Sean had to watch as the girl's mother came out, with her legs burned to a crisp, and as the firemen carried out the body of the little girl. Now she has no place to live, has probably lost most of her worldly possessions, but can't go into her apartment to check, and can't stop smelling the odour of burnt human flesh. She's staying with my neighbour Linda, who says she is in pretty severe shock, although she did finally manage to get to sleep a couple of hours ago. Sean is a real sweetheart, a person who embraces the world with a combination of hope, joy, and piss and vinegar. I hope she comes through this okay.

As for the CBC story, my cynical side points out that Linda isn't really the neighbour who saw Christine Brideau's injuries - she was repeating what Sean had told her. This minor inaccuracy irritates my ex-journalism student sensibilities - as in all things, if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.


Anonymous kiki said...

Hi - I just googled my maiden name and came by your blog. I am devastated! Could you please tell me how Christine is doing? It has shaken me to the core!

6:13 a.m.  

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