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A Fire on Brockton Ave.

My brothers and sisters were enjoying our school vacation in early January of 1972. I was with one of my older brothers, my younger sister and youngest brother skating and playing hockey with neighbors at Greenfield's Pond down the street from our house. We left as dusk was approaching to be home for supper. We cut through the field on the far end of the pond behind houses along Ashland St. We reached High St. at the end and turned towards Brockton Ave. A acrid billowing smoke was rising above the roof of our house. A car racing up Brockton Ave. screeched to a halt across from our home. The blaring sirens of fire engines quickly followed and they halted directly in front of our house. We immediately raced home and called out to our parents and my oldest brother and sister who were home. Fear enveloped us at once and we cried openly as we waited for assurances our family was safe. We were quickly joined by them. We all huddled together at end of our car parked in the driveway. We watched as a firefighter scaled the roof and opened a hole in the roof with his axe. Flames escaped into the night as darkness ascended. Neighbors filled in the side walk as word quickly spread.

Our father was putting in a new bathtub in our one and only bathrooom on the first floor of our six room cape. Our father was a pipefitter and plumber. His blow torch came in contact with the the under wall in the bathroom which was made of a hardened cardboard. The underwall lit and the flame raced up the wall to the second floor. My mother called the fire department but we lived close to Brockton and she was routed to a Brockton fire department which delayed the response of the Abington Fire Department. My older sister ran down to the intersection and pulled the fire alarm.

Time stood still as we wondered if our house would be completely lost. The firefighters were able to contain the flames to the upstairs and the back of the house. Fortunately the first floor was intact. Smoke lingered among the burning embers and the watered poured onto our house quickly froze as the temperature plummeted. Our parents dispersed us among neighbors to sleep for the night. The next morning we all began picking up the debris from the fire in our yard. We would spend months in our backyard living in a large trailer alongside a smaller one of my father's friend for me and my two older brothers to sleep. The newly built and renovated house gave us a dining room on the first floor, a bathroom upstairs and two enlarged bedrooms for me, my three brothers and two sisters.

When faced with adversity having family, neighbors and friends helping hands sustained us to overcome the fire. Their expressions of love and support made it possible for our family to be strong, undaunted and resolved to rebuilding our home. Our family's bond was unbreakable and together we persevered.

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