aboutimage galleriescontactsubscribe

Providence Slum Valentine

FEBRUARY 14, 2012

It's hard to go back there... REALLY hard... somewhere I'd never want to be again... but here goes... 

I'm in my Sophmore year at the Rhode Island School of Design. It's 2 am. I'm Standing next to a 1906 dentist chair, wearing only my underwear in a bay window overlooking Brown University and there is a huge crowd below pointing at me and shouting... Lights are flashing... I'm a star!
98-100 Waterman St.

No... wait... that's not it at all. My friend is screaming from the room next door, "FIRE!" "FIRE!" My door is bending from firemen trying to break it down. It's a huge old house and a really solid oak door. I'm doing everything you're not supposed to do, I'm not thinking clearly. I'd inhaled a lot of toxic smoke. But...
knowing me and how I think... I knew I could always jump from the window. I'd done it before. After I get dressed I look for something to take with me, something to save. I grab something and begin to realize the magnitude of the moment.

With an extra coat in my hand I open the door for the firemen and they lead me out, one in front and one in back of me. Half of the building is in flames... my half. It's an inferno. As we hurry down the stairs flames are bursting out of my friend John's apartment. Is he alive?
We wait and between bursts - run by. I can see through his apartment to the outside. Part of the building is already gone.

 Outside I find my housemates Chris, Liza and John. We cling to each other in tears. John doesn't have a coat - it's winter and he's barely dressed - I give him the one I have.

 It was snowing heavily as we walked to friends around 4 am.  By 7 am there was a foot of fresh snow.  We were up and back at our house to see if we could salvage anything... shoes...?
 It looked like the Ice House from Dr. Zhivago.

 We asked R.I.S.D. for help, we were homeless. Our parents all lived in different states and one house mate's parents were out of the country. We didn't have credit cards, cash or any I.D.      

We all got in-completes on our Winter Session projects.
Thank You!  Fire Dept. of Providence, R.I. 1983
Those guys ran into a building that was totally on fire - all three floors. Real Heroes!
© 2024 David Goldin