Sunday, April 16, 2017

Fire!

April A-to-Z:  A Celebration of the Automobile! (If You’re the Devil)

One day when I was a young man, living here in Scooterville, there appeared on the southern horizon a nasty dark haze which centred over the community of Hagersville; a small farming town about a half-hour drive away which is known for several things:

1. The birthplace of Neil Peart; drummer, composer and lyricist of Rush and the most significant musician since the birth of Rock and Roll by my own subjective accounting!

2. The birthplace of Jay Silverheels; the most significant actor to ever follow around a masked man, calling him “Kee Mo Sah Bee.“

3. The place where I lost my cherry to a married high school teacher. We don’t talk about that.

And 4… the place where thirteen million tires at the Tyre King recycling yard caught fire, burned and smoldered for seventeen days while heavily toxic fumes chased four thousand people from their homes.

Expert fire fighters converged from across the nation, employing 350 tanks of air per day and two water bombers normally employed against forest fires. The disaster loosed tonnes of oil into local groundwater and inflicted “rare and aggressive cancers” on many firefighters.

This “lark” perpetrated by five local teens cost ten million dollars and one year to clean up and remains the worst environmental disaster in Ontario history though I do not know by what criteria specifically. A scarred tundra the size of 18 football fields remains there today.

Tire fires, most of which are ignited through mischief or accidental mishandling of nearby legitimate combustion, are either occurring with increasing frequency or else are being reported with increasingly wider circulation. Reliably, two per year make broad headlines in this decade. The second of 2017 has already ignited on March 5th at the En Tire facility in Phelps City, Missouri and burned for days.


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