It was blazing. The wind had whipped up flames shooting over a foot above the fuel source. The fire truck had left. Water was not a solution. The ambulance had left. No injuries. The deputy sheriff remained on the edge of the street with a spotlight from his vehicle trained on the fire. The fire was blazing.
And before that, the neighbors hung out their doors watching. Lights, sirens, and yelling above the roar of the vehicles as a variety of community helpers assembled, studied the problem and then left. Many onlookers remained to see what would come next.
The flames continued.
What would be the solution?
Before that, it was a few sparks. A few small pops. And before that, a single spark. Probably caused by “the 7,000 volts of electricity through the insulator” was one cause the technician from the power company suggested.
The CO2 or ABC powder extinguished the fire as the wind spread it across the grass and the road. Before that, the tech had raised the bucket on the truck. Before he climbed in the bucket, the tech had donned protective clothing and a halo of lights . . . perfect for the late October setting.
The good news was that the electricity was only turned completely off twice. The second time was for repairs. A plan. The execution of the plan was successful.
And before that, the power was turned off prior to the dousing with the CO2 or ABC powder and the subsequent fire flaming out.
The irony. The pole was scheduled to be replaced. The pole with the fire blazing at the top. The fire did not reach the transformer. The fire that began as a spark.
Just imagine as you look at this picture …
… A spark at the top of the electric pole. A spark in the middle of a drought. A spark that could have caused so much damage but didn’t. The blazing fire from the single spark.
And before that, I was working on my computer responding to emails, and getting ready to post announcements for my courses. Unaware of impending excitement. Just a regular Sunday evening.
Do you always tell a story that begins at the beginning and flows straight through to the end? What other structures do you use to heighten the anticipation?
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.
The structure of before that really keeps the reader reading to see what happened. I’m glad there was minimal damage. Scary!
It was scary. I spent all of yesterday on computer back up and clean up when I knew the pole would not be replaced on a rainy day.
You show us how this structure does build tension. And I am imagining you at your computer, unaware that a terribly dangerous event was about to “spark.” So glad it didn’t spread in the drought conditions!
I hadn’t used it for awhile so it was fun to make it work!
I’ve always loved this structure for a story / post. It’s a good way to think differently about the events happening.
And…WOW. That electric pole fire sounds like quite the adventure!
So many topics from this weekend, but this one would not let go.
This format always makes for interesting reading. Knowing the end and working back to the beginning builds up a different kind of tension in the reader.
Using this format, I felt part of the scene watching the incident unfold. There was a proper amount of tension throughout. I also like the line, ” Just a regular Sunday evening,” at the end.
Thanks, Carol. I’m not sure what “regular” even is but a hint at normalcy helps!
[…] quick glimpse into my day in this “And before that” format/ story structure, also seen here and […]