Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Fire

It was the first time I'd watched the Oscars alone in years. Steph had to work.

Just as Natalie Portman announced the winner for best actor, I heard the first siren. It's become a habit to look out the window since Iqaluit is such a small town. The trucks stopped right in front of my house and turned towards the Creekside Village complex, or as everyone else calls it, White Row.

I followed the skyline to find it interrupted by a raging inferno. White Row was on fire.

We've seen a few doozies over the years. The house beside us burned down and the house across the street has burned down twice now . . . yes, the same house. But I had never seen anything like this. When I say "inferno" I mean, Backdraft . . .Rescue Me . . .Ladder 49 style fire. 2 dead, 83 without homes.

There's enough written about the fires for everyone to Google and research. When a story like this happens it's literally "moths to a flame". The entire town talks about it and the local online newsies go from 2 posts a day to 10 and just about everyone in town has their own version of "what happened". The reason why I wanted to write about this was because for only the second time in 3 years, I was blown away by how the community all came together so effortlessly.

In less than 12 hours there were plans in place to help the survivors. Donations were overwhelming and the contributions are still continuing 4 days later. We the musicians, have already planned multiple fundraisers and benefit shows and get this: in less than a week all the survivors and victims have more than enough supplies, clothes, food, and support to help them carry on. What an accomplishment!

I don't always sing Iqaluit's praises but when a community that often feels divided by race, social class, economic struggles and cultural difference, it was moving to see all those thing put aside for a cause like this. You can be rich or poor, tall or short, you can even speak a foreign language but what it means to lose your home to an accident like that is the same in any language. Just like the warmth you feel when you see people working together to help strangers.

Today, I'm proud to live here.

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