No sirens heard two nights ago, although I slept soundly enough that I could have missed em.
Then, I heard a big mess of fire engine sirens around 9:30 last night, to the south and west of my home. Headed over on foot to St. Louis Place and couldn’t find anything. Granted, I didn’t go that far west, but…. feet are not a car, and I couldn’t hear engines or smell smoke. So who knows. It only sounded like three or so engines, nothing like the six that were at the 2206 Hebert fire. Might have been a false alarm, might have been totally unrelated, might have been nothing. It was the kind of thing I wouldn’t have paid much attention to before this whole thing frayed my nerves. But hey, frayed nerves are what life in Blairmontland is allllll about.
And of course, I have no way of proving these fires have anything to do with Blairmont. But my neighbor Barbara Manzara has been compiling addresses of the fires, and eight out of ten are owned by Blairmont companies. Awful funny, no? Granted, if one randomly selected a bunch of vacant buildings in the target area, a good portion of them would be owned by Blairmont. But the thing is, not a single one of the ten buildings that burned was owned by the LRA (the city’s Land Reutilization Authority), and there are a lot of LRA properties in the fifth ward. In fact, I remember someone telling me that we’re #1 or #2 in the city for the number of LRA properties in our ward. So if this was really, truly a random selection of vacant buildings, why was not a single one of the buildings owned by the LRA? Save for the occasional “NO TRESPASSING NO LOITERING” sign, LRA and Blairmont buildings are often hard to distinguish from the street.
Besides the lack of LRA properties on the list, it’s just awful coincidental that this is happening so neatly within Blairmont’s project boundaries. There are plenty of other depopulated, high-vacancy areas in North City where an arsonist could burn buildings that don’t happen to coincide with somebody’s bulldozer-happy real estate project.
Even if there proves to be no direct Blairmont connection ultimately, I reiterate: Brick rustling was a minor problem in our area, something you heard about sometimes, before Blairmont descended. Now, it’s a plague. So, direct connection or not, we can still thank McKee for this latest ravaging of our community. Even if the fires have nothing to do with brick rustling, some of these buildings were occupied before Blairmont bought them, and certainly they were likely better secured if they were not. And the entire area was more populated, which in and of itself would have been a great deterrent. Blairmont deliberately created these conditions in our area. But that’s okay, none of us were using our human rights anyway, and who wants to feel secure on their own block? (argh, argh, argh….)
Barbara Manzara is compiling a Google map of Blairmont buildings that have burned, both in the past week and in the past couple of years. Here it is.