So yesterday my new co-worker turned up and said there had been a fire in her building in the middle of the night. She lives in one of the apartments clustered behind our school. When the alarm went off at about 3:00 in the morning, all the residents filed outside into the parking lot to watch six fire trucks battle the blaze on the fourth floor. There wasn't enough water pressure in the trucks, so they ended up funneling water down from the large tanks on the building's roof, about 13 floors up from the apartment in flames.
One of my students in my four o'clock class told me the fire had been started by a husband who was fighting with his wife. I thought that was horrible, and wondered if the guy had been arrested. My student said three people had been hurt in the fire.
We found out at about six o'clock, however, that the cause of the fire had actually been an electric heating carpet. People sleep on them in the colder months. It turns out that the people who had been hurt were two of our former students and their little sister. Naomi, the oldest girl, is now a 1st year high school student, and she stopped attending our school just last month when she began high school. She's the girl who comes and takes care of Kamikaze when I go to Japan. Her brother, Tyler, is taking a "rest" from studying English - but he's been our student on and off for a couple years.
Tyler has been released from the hospital, but the two girls are still in serious condition. Naomi has second degree burns on her arms. My boss called Naomi's best friend, an co-taker carer of Kamikaze, Ellie - to ask her what she knew. Ellie says she's been told Naomi is expected to be in the hospital for at least a month. I haven't heard how her little 5 year old sister is doing. Karen's going to find out which hospital she's in and pay a visit later in the week when Naomi's hopefully doing better. I'm going to go shopping on Friday night for some clothes for the kids, and hopefully will be able to visit her next week. Naomi is a pretty girl who likes fashion, and their apartment and everything in it was destroyed. My heart really goes out to the family.
My co-workers have decided that that apartment is kind of cursed. It doesn't help that it's on the 4th floor of the number 104 building. 4 is an unlucky number in Korea - much like 13 back home. Actually, two other former students of ours lived in that same apartment previously. They quit our school to move to Pusan after their father passed away while they were living there. Naomi and her family had just moved into that apartment a week and a half ago.
So it was a day of highs and lows. I've got today off - it's some annual director's meeting - and I'm glad to have the day at home to decompress a bit.