Valley Mission Professional Building Explosion/Fire interupts a quiet little Jack in the Box breakfast

Posted: September 20, 2011 in Meandering Valley Thoughts

I have lived all but a few of  my 52 years right here in the Spokane Valley. In fact, I have lived 23 of those years at 11518 East Alki, the first 7 of my life and the last 16, but that is another story. The point is I am a Spokane Valley lifer and until today I have never come close to any kind of claim to fame. I have never seen even one of the 15 minutes of fame that Andy Warhol said we should all bask in at one point in our lives. But as the fickle finger of fate would have it, today I at least had perhaps an entire 6 seconds of glory on the local evening news. The funny part to me is that those few moments and how they came to transpire have given me a story that I undoubtedly will  retell with heaping relish for the rest of my life. I still can’t believe how winding and surreal the story line was from the shocking moment I shot myself in the leg with my framing gun last Friday to seeing myself on the 6 o’ clock local Monday night news.

In all the 35 or so years that I have wielded such dangerous tool/weapons as worm-drive skil saws and pneumatic nail guns, I have never delivered unto my personage a serious wound. I have always accredited that to a vivid imagination that has always fearfully invisioned the blade of my saw or the nail of my gun ripping or piercing my soft, sensitive tissue far more easily than the wood I had directed my tools toward. So when I shot myself with a 3 1/4″ nail Friday morning as I reached down to grab the gun I had squeezed between my legs, I refused to believe that I could have crippled myself even though the nail buried into the side of my right knee.

There wasn’t that much pain and so I was hopeful as I hobbled to the van and made my son grasp the head of the nail with pliers and give a hard and fast tug. That is the moment of truth with a nail imbedded in a body part, if the nail comes hard then it is buried in something hard like bone. If it comes quick and easy then it drove into soft tissue. We were both relieved when it came out like it had been buried in soft butter. In fact, we went back to work and worked another hour until lunch break.

I did fine that first hour and was going strong until I got out of the van and headed across the Subway parking lot. In the 7 minute drive from the job to the fast food joint, my leg siezed up and hurt like the dickens. We were planning on staying and eating at Subway but I did not want sit any more than I had to and so we headed back and ate on the way. I had a steep roof to sheet that afternoon and to be honest, every step I took on that roof as pulled up the 4×8 sheets of plywood and then threw them down into place hurt pretty good.

It never crossed my mind to stop and I give my father credit for that. I worked with him for many years and I have never in  all my years in constructtion seen a tougher man. I will never forget as a young boy seeing him suffer a wound in a motor cycle accident that ripped into his legged so severly that it still makes my hiney pucker to this day.  He just winced and never said a word. Another time I saw him bounced a chain saw off his thigh, wrap a rag around and went right on working. My glancing nail wound was nothing compared to that and so I gladly taught my son a lesson in toughness while completing the job we set out to finish that day.

But by the time we went home, my leg was hurting. It was hurting in the back of my calf quite a ways from the wound and so that concerned me a little. When I got up Saturday morning, the calf was really tender. I had been asked by a friend to walk in the 3-mile ALS Walk at Maribeau Park and for some reason I thought would help the stiffness. Elaine was sleeping when I left, and so it would be hours later before she told me how dumb she thought I was. I limped a bit but it was not that bad.

Somewhere about this time I brought the power of facebook into my unusual weekend. I love facebook and am fascinated by its immence power. I contend that facebook is the most important developement to come along since the internet and it is debatable which is more significant. I posted a question about why the back of my calf would  hurt when I shot myself in the side of the knee. I have a lot of friends, and the mother hens came clucking out, warning me that my life could be in jeopardy by a blood cot. I do not mean to belittle them here because I was very moved by them scurrying out of the woodwork so to speak, considering I had never heard from most of them before. It was just a shot in the dark but it quickly went out of my control as my concerned friends threatened to drive over and kidnap me down to the emergency room.

Not wanting to be branded a fool on facebook by this flock of mother hens and risk never being able to seek their guidence again, I beleaguredly made my way into the Rockford Emergency Cinic Sunday morning, only to be told that they could not perform an ultrasound on my leg to determine if I had a clot and so I would have to go to the Vally Hospital Emergency room. Losing my momentum towards this end, I stopped at the house to tell Elaine how my efforts had been thwarted and I was being redirected to the hospital emergency room. That is when she first told me that our flimsy insurance policy had a $1,000 deductable when it came to the emergency room. Just two years before we had spent that amount at the Valley Hospital emergency room to find out that our ailing daughter did not have appendicitous and would be just fine. That took the well-meaning wind right out of my sails and grounded me and my ailing leg right there. I would risk it until the next morning when I could go into our regular doctor’s office when we had better coverage. Besides, by this time I was beginning to abandon the blood clot possibility which I had never bought into in the first place.

But I truly respect each of my motherly hen friends and did not want to suffer any admonishment from a single one of them and so I headed out bright and early this morning with instructions from my major mother hen, Elaine, to call our doctor at 7 and schedule an emergency appointment which she assured me the always kept room open for on their daily schedule. I go out for coffee just about every morning to Burger King or McDonald’s but this morning I went for the Jack in the Box at Pines and Mission because it is right on the way to our doctor’s office.

Remember that I am a blogger-slash-internet goofball and so I looked about the dining room and was delighted to find a corner table with a near by outlet that I could plug my laptop into. So I plugged in the laptop, dialed in the smart phone to the net, layed out breakfast for a picture, ( I shoot before every meal in public like a born-again prays before every meal, always thinking of a possible blog). Then I looked up over my laptop, through a 10″ gap between the posters plastered on the windows in front of me. It was at that moment that I saw a foaming head of white smoke arise from a building  a thousand yards beyond Jack’s window posters. Within seconds, before the white head of smoke had risen 30 feet above the building’s rooftop, a rush of sinister black smoke shot up past the slower light smoke and I grabbed my smart phone and headed to out the door to further investigate, knowing that there was a building going down in a blaze.

Having seen that first smoke shoot up and then going outside and not hearing a single siren, I knew that I was seeing this all unfold from the very beginning, even before the first 911 call. In fact, as I waited on the south side of Mission to cross east on Pines, I saw a cop pull up in the southbound lane of Pines on the far west side preparing to go west down Mission but a pedestrian tapped on his window and pointed to the burning building. He looked and saw the flames, hit his lights and turned across 7 lanes of traffic and shot down Mission and arrived at the scene before the first siren sounded.

In the meantime, I impatientley waited for my side of the light to allow me passage across Pines.  I remember thinking I had the chance of getting one of the videos you see on You Tube or Greatest Home Videos. I bought an Android smart phone to always have that capabillity at all times. And this morning it was about to pay off big time.

This my doctor's building going up in flames.

Click here to see the video.  It appeared on khq and krem news and both stations came by my house to interview me.  While the interviews took at least 10 minutes apiece to film, I appeared for one 6-second sentence in each broadcast. More important to me was my video which was the star of the evening news on both stations in their lead story. (the firey video scene in this news feature was mine.

BTW- I went back to the Rockwood Clinic that afternoon and got a tetnis shot and a clean bill of health.

  1. Bj Bolich says:

    Love your writing, Craig, but I’ll be wincing all morning at your graphic descriptions of guy-injuries. I guess that means you’re a gifted writer!

  2. Bj Bolich says:

    and did you ever get to a doctor? Hope you leg is okay!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s