Panic. Nervous. Scared. That’s how I felt last night when a vacant land in our backyard caught on fire. It was almost nine in the evening and everybody in the neighborhood was already inside their homes because of curfew. I was still awake preparing to take shower when somebody from our neighbor screamed. Fire! Fire! I went out from our front door but I didn’t see any. My sister was shouting that the fire is in the vacant grassland in our backyard. Though there’s a concrete wall in-between our house and the vacant land, there’s no any assurance that our place is safe.
The land was a rice field before but later on became barren full of tall grasses. We didn’t know who owned the land. It’s summer so the grass turned very dry. When I saw the fire, it’s like about 50 meters away from us. Red flame, black smoke and dust were flying everywhere. I could even feel the heat and heard the sound coming from the flaming dried grasses.
My brother called the local fire department but nobody was answering and even tried to call multiple times. We found out that there’s also a big fire in another area responded by our local firemen and that they’ll arrive after they finished responding there. I could see the grassfire got bigger and closer to where we were, so we need to take an action while waiting for the firemen.
We gather all our bucket and water hose and filled them with water. Men in our compound and neighbors climb our concrete wall to pour water onto the fire. All the women filled the pail with water and we formed a bucket brigade. We did that for more than an hour to prevent the fire from getting closer in our houses.
I didn’t know where was my energy coming from at that moment. I couldn’t imagine myself carrying two bucket full of water with my both hands. I hardly carry a bucket of water using both my hands in an ordinary situation. It was indeed an adrenaline rush.
Finally, the firemen arrived and started to do their job, but we didn’t stopped from our bucket brigade. We need to help to prevent the fire from getting closer to our premises. Though I was wearing a mask, I could feel the smoke getting inside my lungs. I often see this kind of tragedy only in news and movies. But seeing a big fire in real life and almost caught us, in a peaceful night, was a very terrifying experience.
After almost two hours, the fire was extinguished. It was already midnight. The firemen secured our safety and advised us to go back inside our houses. As I sat down on the couch, I started to feel the pain in my whole body, especially in my arms and legs. I lost all my energy. But I’m so grateful that there’s no any damages and most importantly, nobody hurt from that fire.