What a week! And it’s only Wednesday! Yesterday an earthquake and now today a chemical factory explodes incredibly close to my house!
Last night I was in the middle running my meeting for RW Investments, a women’s investment group, and we felt a small earthquake that went on for two or three seconds. The earthquake happened at 7:29 PM with a magitude of 3.9 and was centered near Vallejo, California. We all just sat there rather calmly and said, “Hey, I think that was an earthquake!?” Katherine Klein, who is adorably 7 months pregnant, jumps up and runs to a doorway! We all look at her, and she looks at us. And we start laughing and say, “Is this your first earthquake?” and she says, “yesss!”. She is a little afraid and rather shaken up, but we assure her that if it was going to be a bad earthquake that it would go on for a longer time and that you would have time to run out of the building. She said that she felt the baby moving and then realized that she was moving too! Leo Martinez, our guest speaker for the night, was standing and didn’t notice it at all, only the people sitting did.
It struck me rather funny how we all reacted so calmly to it except Katherine. We really don’t have earthquakes often, but I have felt them every few years. The worst one that I’ve felt was the time the bridge collapsed in San Francisco. That one went on long and hard enough that I grabbed my baby son out of his crib and ran out to the street. That was a bit scary, but I had absolutely no damage. Whenever an earthquake is reported on the news my mom’s phone lights up with calls from her relatives in Tennesee. They are all afraid we’ve fallen into the ocean. Just kind of funny how we take it in stride, while the rest of the country is frightened by the thought of it.
So now, today, I am cooking dinner, and my neighbor, Cathy Reisinger, calls me and asks if she can come by and drop something off to me. I say sure, and I hear her yell outside, so I walk out and she yells, “Laura! Come here! You have to see this!”. I walk out and straight down at the end of our street, though you can tell it’s in the distance, is extremely black smoke rising up in a colomn. Then we start hearing noises! “Bang…bang bang! Bang!”. This continues on intermittently. We are both trying to think what is located in that direction and what is blowing up making those bang sounds? We consider the gas station and a Burger King. We both go back inside our homes and she calls me a few minutes later and tells me to turn on the news. KCRA 3 news is reporting that the Ashland Chemical Plant is in the middle of a 3-alarm fire. The fire started in a tanker trailer, which may have been what we heard exploding. I heard a woman on the news saying that the fire smelled like tires. They evacuated nearby residents and sent them to a shelter. We were pretty nearby I’ll tell you, but luckily the wind wasn’t blowing in our direction. I’m sure it’s less than 5 minutes drive away from me. They told the rest of the local residents to stay inside. I have been staying inside! They are saying that the chemicals are “relatively” non-toxic. “Relatively” doesn’t make me feel very good to be honest with you. Reports say that the fire was put out at 8:30 PM, but it’s about 9:15 PM now and I still hear helicopters flying around constantly.
So, it’s been a rather eventful week, and it’s only Wednesday! Here’s to the rest of the week going out like a lamb.
UPDATE: Just now at 9:30 PM I received an automated phone call from the Fairfield Police and Fire Departments saying that the fire has been contained, air quality is good, and we all can resume our normal activities.
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