At the round earth's imagin'd corners

At the round earths imagin'd corners, blow
Your trumpets, Angells, and arise, arise
From death, you numberlesse infinities
Of soules, and to your scattered bodies goe,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom warre, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despaire, law, chance, hath slaine, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never tast deaths woe.
But let them sleepe, Lord, and mee mourne a space,
For, if above all these, my sinnes abound,
'Tis late to aske abundance of thy grace,
When wee are there; here on this lowly ground,
Teach mee how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou’hadst seal'd my pardon, with thy blood.

-- John Donne

Saturday, July 17, 2010

13: Fire and Water

[Gretel Bosch; fourth entry.]

May 28, 2006

I would guess there's a certain official embarrassment present whenever a fire station is burned down by arson. (And how often can that possibly happen?)

Of the town's three qualified arson investigators, two died inside the Diluvian Street Firehouse. The third, Dirk-Pieter Blackgall, declared it an accident, and released a report presenting what some felt was an implausibly complicated narrative. Then-Mayor Calliope Geert called it "a bizarre fantasy describing a whimsically sustained and politically convenient freak accident". (But only in her private notes, which I've got in front of me.)

Since it's just me and me here, I'll never bullshit, lie, evade or prevaricate on these pages. I'll probably never be entirely sober, either, unless they stop making Scotch.

So this isn't verified fact, just my private theory: I think Blackgall arranged for a small fire in the lockers at the station; some simple timing device. How would he know a trainee would unlimber the nearest hose instead of using an extinguisher? No idea. But I'm close to 100% that the main fire was ignited by six kilos of sodium hydroxide pellets reacting exothermically with the water. I think it was six. That's the figure I remember.

I was already packed for my vacation, but forgot all about the Paris catacombs when I heard about the fire on the radio. I could hardly wait for Dorn to do his autopsies and let me collect the bodies (most of the guys at Diluvian were pre-arranged with us; Bosch & Sons always gave a great discount to firehouses).

DFD Lt. Briden still had a tempered glass butt plug in his half-cooked rectum when I got him. I think that's when I began to suspect M.E. Dorn was getting sloppy in his old age.